Tuesday 18 October 2016

Hundreds of millions again

Ilya Merenzon has a message for us!

Mostly a threatening message, as it goes, and perhaps this blog will get back to the less savoury aspects of Mr Merenzon's communication. Just for now, though, it was hard to miss the little passage at the end of this paragraph:

Ah yes...
...the hundreds of millions of chess fans round the world.
Well, here we go again. I don't suppose it's the last time we'll hear this claim (or similar claims) connected to the world championship match and come to that, it's not the first time Merezon himself has come out with this nonsense.

Actually that short exchange is more revealing now than it seemed at the time, at least as an insight into Ilya Merezon's general approach ("how did you get access to raw data?", he demands, referring to data the public had been invited to access) but it also means we know that when Ilya Merenzon makes claims like this, he knows very well that he's making it up.


Anonymous said...

Maybe a better question is what the monetizable base of chess fans is? Agon must have some guess, though I'd suspect it's an overestimate (and not just for marketing reasons). Their overall business savvy does not impress me, particularly the rather dopey notion in their recent Broadcast Rules that other chess sites should be happy that they can make money (for "doing nothing") via the affiliate program, when in fact more significant to some must be the lost opportunity cost from not having one's own monetization stream (through commentary, analysis, advertising...) through the WC as with other events.

A. said...

I suspect that Agon has their reasons for not determining the true market for live chess. Some of it might simply be the psychological desire to lie to themselves about the business potential. As others will tell you, the book market (and now DVDs) is still the bellwether of the chess economy, and (at least) 99.9% of those hundreds of millions of fans couldn't care less about live broadcasts.

Anonymous said...

Audiences for major chess events regularly overwhelm poorly prepared servers, so there is a market of sorts out there. Millions rather than hundreds of millions I would have thought.


A. said...

I had thought the Candidates was about 100000 live viewers (even by Agon's own estimates, can't find it now, but maybe that chap on ECForum?). Maybe the WC will be 10x bigger, but in any case it doesn't answer the question what the market really is. Personally I think the $15 cost for 12 games is low enough to get a significant number of premium upgrades (some tens of thousands?) from casual fans who aren't shopping around for commentary alternatives anyway and just prefer the convenience of the "official" feed, though for myself the broadcast quality would be a factor in any decision. Candidates was bearable (except that McClain guy), but with only one game instead of 4, I expect the commentators will have to take a different tack.

Anonymous said...

The "hard" statistic is the headcount of players who have played at least one game in a national or international rating system in a recent period. A slightly softer statistic is the equivalent count of players since "records began".

Reliable counts are elusive, but even the largest Federations such as the Germans, Americans, French or Russians struggle to get either measure past hundreds of thousands.

Winding back time, it was estimated that the BBC's Master Game programme attracted TV audiences measured in millions. That was over thirty years ago of course.


Anonymous said...

In my experience, many who play chess a lot (now on the Internet) are the least likely to care that much about the WC, at least to watch it live. After all, they are too busy enjoying themselves playing the game!

Anonymous said...

Is Karpov talking truly here in his 2010 FIDE campaign? Does he mean world popularity soccer vs chess?

"In four years, chess will be dead. So there's no point in talking about four years from now," Karpov told RFE/RL's Russian Service. "In 20 years we've already lost so much it's hard to imagine. At one time, chess was competing with soccer as the most popular sport. Now you can't see chess anywhere. Even poker has surpassed chess in popularity. It's a disgrace."

Name/URL said...

This just in!

Chess-news.ru tweets:
НЬЮ-ЙОРК, пресс-центр сейчас. По словам АГОНА, к сегодняшнему дню более 1,8 млрд. англоговорящих людей узнало о матче Карлсен-Карякин из СМИ.

Agon says 1.8 billion English speakers know about the game from the media!