Saturday, January 26, 2013

Calling out Flotrack

As an athlete in a sport that doesn't experience the level of cashflow that football, basketball, etc. enjoy, I love seeing progress being made in track and field media coverage that successfully cultivates new interest from the public.  Unfortunately, the sport's everyday coverage in the US outside the Olympics and a few major Championship meets is still unconventional and somewhat spotty.  It's been left to grassroots internet sites to boil down the myriad of constant worldwide track and field news for their small but loyal followers (mostly runners).  The founders of two of the most popular sites, and recently got into a heated online argument about Flotrack's new FlotrackPro subscription system.

In this video, Flotrack founder Mark Floreani "calls out" LetsRun cofounder Weldon Johnson ('Wejo') for questioning the new monthly subscription rate of $20 that Flotrack is now asking for their Flotrack Pro content.  While Floreani brazenly challenged him to a Skype duel for the world to see, Wejo simply brushed the situation aside on a since deleted message board thread, and it seems to have ended at that.  Except that the rate is still $20/month.  The complaints don't stop with Wejo; they go all the way down through the mass of Flotrack users who are so used to great free content from the site.  With enticing new content like the Driven series on mileage god Cam Levins, Bernard Lagat, and others, people don't want to suddenly start shelling out mulah for their track coverage fix.

But we're going to have to, sooner or later.  The call out video explains that Flotrack's goal is to bring our 'fringe sport' into the spot light.  That can't be done without money.  Today at breakfast someone asked "so how does Flotrack make money?"  "Page advertisements, obviously."  I want Flotrack to grow, everybody wants Flotrack to grow.  Apparently they can't turn a profit on ads anymore.  But I havent committed $20 this month or $150 for the year... I think it's too much.  Did Flotrack do any kind of research into their pricing?  I live and run with 20 other avid Flotrack users in the very city Flotrack is headquartered in, and none of them are ready to pay up.  Look at the commenters below the video - neither do they.

It's necessary that Flotrack starts charging for their content.  Where there's money, things get done.  But the current rates are just too high.  I'd gladly sacrifice $75 a year to watch all the great Flotrack coverage, pro videos, and athlete/coach features.  If even a quarter of their current 27.7k followers on Twitter  payed that much, they'd have over half a million in revenue on the year.  As it stands now I bet less than two thousand people will go for $150 a year.  They'd make less than half that.  I'm not an economist, but I hope that the big hand will bring these rates down to a reasonable level in the near future.  I for one want to know how Cam Levins runs so many damn miles.

1 comment:

  1. This blog is gold. It's amazing you can be this analytical and still be a good athlete. Oh, and from (somewhat) of an economist, I think you mean invisible hand.