NO, it’s not about Ronnie, no he hasn’t withdrawn from the International Championship … in fact he’s already in China where he was made very welcome
and even played some snooker it seems, in a very nice club.
So, no, the bad news is about youtube and specifically snooker videos on youtube.
You may have seen that most of the matches videos I embedded on this site are now – again – disabled. This is because Eurosport has claimed that (at least) two of the main accounts that were offering snooker videos, Snooker Planet and Snooker For All, are violating their rights and asked for them to be taken down.
Now, whilst it is true that those videos were made and published without their permission, it is also true that those channels were providing a service that Eurosport DOES NOT provide, a library and archive service and I fail to see how their existence is hurting their business.
OK, some persons will be happy to watch the matches with a few hours delay for free, rather than pay for the ES player, or Eurosport, and watch them live. But true fans will want to watch them live whenever they get the opportunity and will pay for the player and/or Eurosport. For the record I pay for both.
On the other hand, even the most dedicated fan can’t always watch every match live, some times life comes in the way of snooker. For instance, last week, I was in SWSA in Gloucester, promoting snooker by taking and publishing pictures of the Open Disability Snooker Championship 2016 and I watched the English Open on youtube, later in evenings, or the next morning. In the future I may be forced to chose between promoting the sport I love and watching it. Not happy! Also, when it comes to television, depending on you region Eurosoport might not show the snooker even when it’s on, the quality of commentary is sometimes very poor (it is terrible in French for instance) and they might not show the punditry or show only part of it with a very annoying voice over…
Moreover, people new to the game and interested in its history appreciate to watch matches from the past. An archive and library service contributes to build an educated fan base for the sport, a fan base that in turn will be ready to pay to watch their sport of choice in high quality and when it’s actually happening . The guys behind those channels were providing it for free, and Eurosport is not providing it at all. If all snooker videos were to disappear from youtube, new fans would never have the opportunity to watch the likes of Alex Higgins, Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry in action, except in the odd snippet during an MSI or the rare documentary.
I don’t think snooker is the winner here, nor do I think it’s a smart move commercially, image rights or not. I don’t believe they lose many customers because of such channels, in fact I believe those channels contribute to bring new people to the sport actually.
I want to insist that the above is my opinion and mine ONLY
As for the disabled videos, I will leave the links there for now, and try to find replacements for as many as them as I can … until they are clamped on again …