Disc Golf’s Live Internet Broadcasts Combine New Media With Traditional Production

Dr. John G. Duesler Jr. is director of marketing for the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) and principal at Terra Firma Media Group. After earning a Ph.D. in biomedical science, he opted out of a life of research and opened the first store on the Internet to sell Frisbees. At the PDGA since 2005, he has helped advance both new- and traditional-media efforts for the association. Duesler believes that niche sports are leading the way in Internet broadcasting, and, in this article, he explains why and how.

The flurry of activity in the media and broadcast world has most experts proclaiming this a time of great opportunity. Yet few are able to delineate not only where new media is taking us but how it will emerge as a profitable enterprise. A big reason for this uncertainty is that television and online viewers are becoming more segmented and specialized, diluting the advertising power of any single media outlet. Despite these ominous trends for big media, niche sport disc golf represents the future of live sports broadcasting.

Disc golf is barely on the radar with sporting enthusiasts (and the advertising industry) around the world. Yet its promoters believe their live Internet satellite broadcasts are the model that will guide how future sports shows are structured, presented, and delivered to smaller, more passionate audiences.

It took me only one live production and planning for the next to fully appreciate the power of live Internet broadcasts. We are able to aggregate under one umbrella all that is good about new media and the best of traditional broadcasting. The impact of our shows demonstrates that the value of our production package is greater than the sum of its parts.

Our broadcast platform is based on the media player designed and supported by broadcast partner Todocast.tv (based in San Juan Capistrano, CA). In a single media player, disc-golf broadcasts combine high-quality video streaming distributed through a satellite uplink and CDN with social-media/networking widgets that make viewers inherently accountable for their posts. Interactive programming with production partner E-Planet Media’s split-screen Skype interface is combined with traditional broadcasting elements, such as prize giveaways, clickable banner ads, and commercials.

The second noteworthy feature of the disc-golf broadcasts is the flexibility and cost of productions. With our platform, we are not beholden to FCC constraints, commercial schedules, or even start and stop times. This allows us to keep production costs manageable while customizing segments of the show according to what our advertisers would like to do. We provide a low-risk, low-cost test-bed for new concepts and programming, allowing our advertisers to determine whether to migrate their ideas into broadcast television or not.

The third and most potent element of the disc-golf live Internet platform is Todocast’s video-on-demand infrastructure. There is a rapidly growing menu of live Internet sports to choose from, but almost all of them — March Madness, The Masters, and tennis’s U.S. Open included — are click-and-go streams that generate great analytics but no individual footprints. Todocast’s video-on-demand system has helped us gain direct access to every single one of our viewers via their e-mail, street address, or even phone numbers.

Our extended capabilities include pay-per-view or even brief survey questions, with which we’ve been able to measure preferences towards blue-jean styles, saddle fits, and even mothering behavior patterns. You cannot get this information from most Internet platforms, but we have it.

You can find out more about our disc-golf broadcasts and register to see what it’s all about by visiting www.discgolfplanet.tv.

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