by Christian Duque
As I’m sure many of you have already heard Desktop Bodybuilding received a copyright strike for reporting on the West Coast Championships. Xavier Wills is the host of the channel and does a fantastic job promoting the sport of bodybuilding and fitness. He covers news, current events, and also lends an enormous amount of contest coverage for some of the best contests around the world. In addition to covering the biggest shows, Xavier also uses his platform to cover smaller competitions that really benefit from the coverage of YouTube channels such as his.
Although my coverage of the sport has always been that of a commentary type format as well as well contest coverage, many moons ago, today’s YouTube bodybuilding channels rely on using a lot of competition content. For the most part contest, promoters are more than happy to to see footage from their show all over the World Wide Web. This will increase name value for the show, as well as spark interest from vendors, sponsors, and would-be competitors looking to do their next competition. Overall, it’s a win-win for the show and it’s a win-win for the bodybuilding channels. Everyone is happy, right?
Unfortunately, things are not often as simple as they seem. One would think that if everyone is happy, everything is copacetic. Lamentably, that is not the case in the sport of bodybuilding. We often use terms like old school and new school for a reason. This is not to say that the old way of doing things is incorrect, but there is a definite clash with the way new things are done. The Internet changed everything. For example, there used to be a number of competitions that forbade any kind of videotaping whatsoever. If the promoters, or their staff, caught you videotaping, they would confiscate your ticket and throw you out of the event. It was serious business, and the rule extended to at least 20 rows from the stage. That’s before smart phones, where every single person now has a camera in their pocket that can shoot film just as good as a DSLR. This was also at a time, when contest promoters could make a pretty penny selling contest DVDs. When is the last time you bought a DVD at all, much less one of a bodybuilding show?
With the advent of the Internet, and most especially social media, many promoters have put money into better bells and whistles. A great many have invested in camera crews and full-on livestream productions that parallel what professional boxing and wrestling is doing. They not only want to put on a good livestream, but they want to make it as to where they can charge top dollar for pay-per-view. And that right, there is a bit of the old mixed with a bit of the new. Never before was bodybuilding considered a sport that would generate considerable pay-per-view revenue until the advent of social media. Now more and more contest promoters are digging deep into their pockets and trying to put out high-quality livestream coupled with in-house commentaries that provide a total package for the viewer. Now viewers can watch from all over the world without ever putting foot in the actual contest venue.
On paper, all of this sounds very impressive and might I add, very lucrative for contest promoters. But there is a catch. And that is, the big money is for the big shows. If you’re a contest promoter of a small competition, I don’t care how fancy your pay per view production is or how great your commentaries are, very few people are going to spend $30, $20, or even $10 to watch your show. This is simply because the interest is not there. Maybe the lineups aren’t deep enough or maybe it’s because the show doesn’t pay enough money.
The reality of the matter is, unless we’re talking about the Olympia or the Arnold Classic, very few viewers are going to spend any kind of money to watch a small show. This is just the nature of the beast. Perhaps a few years ago, when there were far fewer shows, the small shows could still make money based on the quality of their production, but now, with more and more competitions being added to the roster, small show promoters really have their backs against the wall. Because let’s also not forget that aside from a small show having the difficulty of generating interest, they also don’t have the limitless resources of a major competition’s war cheat to invest in intensive advertising. So, in fact, small-contest promoters really do have their backs against the wall. And this is why the coverage of YouTube channels like Desktop Bodybuilding is so important.
These, YouTube channels make a point to cover all competitions, from the huge to the really small, because their motivation is to give the sport coverage. Small contest promoters usually are very appreciative of this coverage, but others that are still in the old school and see them as stealing content – or – or simply using their content without permission. As opposed to reaching out to the content creator to try to resolve matters diplomatically, they resort to antiquated tactics such as copyright take downs, copyright strikes, and even the threat of legal action. What’s fascinating, however, is that the people who are seemingly stealing their content are also helping enrich them in the process. When a small show gets coverage that sparks interest and when there is interest, there is more money from sponsors, vendors, and especially from competitors looking for their next show to compete in. Sparking interest will also generate more pay-per-view sales for the competition in years to come. At least that’s the big picture way of looking at it in my opinion.
As a writer, I generally like to take a side. However, in this situation, I am going to remain impartial and objective. I have laid down points on both sides and I have also explained how things are done today as opposed to how they were done in yesteryear. Rather than take a side in this matter, I will leave it to you, the readers of Iron Magazine to weigh in on the comments. I invite you to share this article on your social media feeds and invite discussion amongst your friends and followers.
Without taking a side, I would venture to say the vast majority of those leaving comments will side with the content creator as opposed to the promoter. But that does not mean that I side with either party. As I said, we are in a new world where there are new ways of doing things where everyone can be happy. That being said, not everybody is going to be happy all the time. And that’s just life.
What say you? Who do you side with, and why?