Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great Image Debate

Over the last couple of years both the NPPL and the PSP have changed their policy when it comes to photographers, on field photography and event imagery whether it's stills or video. The flap those changes caused was largely about the rights of the photogs versus the leagues and what was fair and what wasn't. And there was some utterly ineffective pushback from the photogs. (It's not that there weren't some legitmate issues put forth by the photographers because there were--and are--the problem was one of numbers. There were, and perhaps still are, more photographers than the environment and economics of tourney paintball could support and that drove the value of the images and the photographers in general down.) But all of that is small potatoes compared to the potential for future problems when it comes to the images and video of league events.
Interestingly this is one area where NPPL 3.0 might have an advantage over the PSP--if in fact the NPPL 3.0 is an actual legal entity. (And there are good and substantive reasons to wonder.) Back in the first seasons of the original NXL the owners understood what was at stake they just didn't handle it very well. Given that they were operating on the assumption that the NXL would go mainstream, or something quite like it, at any moment they forbade any and all unauthorised images of the league, its teams and players from being published and for two years didn't allow any video at all. The idea was that the images, if not super valuable just that minute would soon be valuable and they didn't want to dilute that value. Of course the whole thing fell apart and instead of preserving value they diminished the value of some of the teams because nobody had seen them in two years except at the events and in a few photographs in the magazines. Meanwhile there was truckloads of video available that only enhanced the popularity of teams like Dynasty, XSV & Infamous after they left Miami Effect.
Which brings us, if not to the present day, a day that is coming if any (or all) of the power players in big time competitive paintball have their way. Here's where that hypothetical NPPL advantage exists. Many (but not all) of the impacted NPPL teams, ignoring that of the teams for the teams nonsense, are also shareholders. If so it will make things easier if the images of the league actually acquire real value. What am I talking about? Let's use the PSP and PBAccess to explain. The PSP provides the league structure and events for competition. It also controls who will be and won't be a pro team. PBAccess is in business to provide a webcast of the PSP Pro division that will, in time, build a sufficient audience to attract advertising revenues. One supposes PBAccess and the PSP have some sort of contractual arrangement or agreement prepared for that day. But what about the teams? The day the first advertising contract is signed those images have value. Advertisers aren't paying for the league, the webcast or the teams; they are paying for the audience but the audience is there because of the quality of the competition and the teams competing. And when that day arrives, if it does, that is the day the debate begins in earnest over the value (and potential value) of those images.
Today no agreements exist. No dialogue over the possibility has occurred (that I'm aware of.) No working principles are in place to guide a future deal. And maybe they won't be needed. No agreement exists today that gives the PSP the teams' permission to broadcast the events. Probably because it's in everyone's interest right now to do so; to be on the webcast and be seen. But none of that changes where this could be headed. Can you say players union or association of pro teams?

17 comments:

Reiner Schafer said...

Your last sentence is what I started thinking about halfway through the post. If indeed some value arises in the future, players/teams are going to want their share. They will get it, one way or another.

Baca Loco said...

Yes, at least some of them will but if everybody waits until the dollars are on the table it becomes more difficult to deal.

Reiner Schafer said...

Yes, absolutely. These things are much easier worked out beforehand in an amicable fashion. It's much more difficult for people to give up something once they have it, especially after they've been starving for so long.

I'm all for "profit sharing". The people that are attracting the advertisers, deserve a share. It's only fair and if the leagues can negotiate beforehand, it will make it much easier for them. A player's strike just as things are starting to wind up is about the last thing they would want. That kind of thing could collapse a league if it happened at the wrong time. And I bet the NPPL doesn't have all the i's dotted and t's crossed either.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll are living in fantasy land.

Missy Q said...

yeah, like a commie-pinko fantasy-land...

Anonymous said...

Why isn't a paintball event in the X-Games? It could either be attached to PSP or NPPL or be a separate entity (to get Euro teams in the mix). I've got to think that teams would want to compete there and that it would be good exposure for PB. It is 'extreme' enough to fit in with the other events. I was watching last night and they had 11 year olds competing against 40 year olds in skateboarding, so why no PB?

Missy Q said...

Because we use guns, and use words like 'Kill' and 'Dead'.
Its been tried.

Baca Loco said...

Anon
The simple answer is nobody has made a compelling case to ESPN --and there is a history there (with ESPN) already that doesn't favor tourney paintball dating back to 96, 97, something like that. Efforts have been made and for whatever reason haven't worked out.

Anonymous said...

@MissyQ: we use markers and words like 'eliminate'. Maybe you are getting thigs confused with the MilSim poseurs.

Anonymous said...

The only people who use the word "marker" is someone trying to sell the outside world on paintball by covering up what it is, or a complete tool that doesn't realize he's a tool.

It's a gun. You kill or eliminate (that words fine) people on the field of play with it.

Now, if every now and then you want to toss in the word marker just because it makes you feel happy go for it. But only a toolbox would refuse to acknowledge it's a gun.

We're not running around with sharpies on the field "marking" people.

Reiner Schafer said...

"We're not running around with sharpies on the field "marking" people."

On the flip side, foresters aren't killing trees with guns. They only mark them with paint.

Missy Q said...

I don't think they're trying to make 'Forestry' a sport in the Xgames though...

just saying. I wouldn't watch it even if it was...

Anonymous said...

Reiner - how many loggers do you know? Or cattle ranchers? I know several of each. (the loggers use spray paint btw)

But the ranchers that have tried paintball guns, actually call them a gun and say that they are shooting a steer. And I'm quite certain a logger would also call it a gun and would "shoot" trees with it.

Anonymous said...

Case in point... something actually used for painting is called a spray gun:

http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=15707181

Not a "paint sprayer" or a "paint spray marker". But a "gun".

The reason why paintball appeals to people is not because you get to exercise your creative juices by artistically marking people. But you have a really cool gun that you get to shoot other people with, and it's actually quite safe to do so.

Kids also use squirt guns, not "water markers". It's a ridiculous concept. I don't go apeshit on people who use the word marker as part of normal usage. But if you're afraid to say "gun" or insist that it's not a "gun" then the fisking is well deserved.

Anonymous said...

If you watched the PSP webcast you would be well aware that terms such as "killed" or "dead" are used quite often.

TJ said...

The media policies that are in place at this present time are a complete and utter cluster fuck.

Reiner Schafer said...

Missy Q, those Lumberjack competitions are great to watch. In many ways more exciting than paintball. Just saying.

Anonymous (don't know which one - they all look alike to me). I don't have a problem with paintball markers being called paintball guns. And living in the middle of logging country, I know lots of loggers. And... just last month the hydro company "marked" trees in front of our property with a paintball "gun". I wasn't there so I don't know if they call them markers or guns (and don't really care). I honestly don't know if the foresters around here are still using paintball "markers" or just spray cans. It probably has much to do with access and ease of marking. Spray cans will be easier to leave a bigger mark with, so I would assume they would be the instrument of choice, although if I were a forester and that was my job, it would be paintball guns all the way. :-)

So now that we've bored everyone with this off topic discussion, we can return to talking about real paintball stuff.