Wimbledon Faces a Periscope Problem

Spectators at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, have long been requested to switch off their mobile phones to prevent the distraction of players. Many visitors disobey the rules however (if they can get away with it), in favour of sharing the experience over social media. This year however, The Telegraph reports that the use of live streaming apps, such as Periscope, pose a new problem for the organisers as they struggle to protect their lucrative broadcast rights.

‘The AELTC insisted that the guidance concerning live streaming apps such as Periscope was simply an extension of the usual rule that mobile phones must be switched off “in and around the courts in play”. But William Hanson, author of The Bluffer’s Guide To Etiquette, said: “New technology means we have to learn new behaviours or find new levels of acceptability. Selfie sticks are ridiculous and are probably more a health and safety issue rather than a good taste issue, although you could argue the latter as well, so I’m glad they have been banned. As to Periscope, obviously this is a huge sporting event and there is a lot of money invested in it and broadcasters do not want people broadcasting it for free. I think that’s quite wise.’

Wired points out that the Wimbledon organisers face a dichotomy. One the one hand they want to preserve the institution of the tournament with it’s ‘stiff upper lip’ traditions and rules of etiquette. On the other however, they need to connect with fans and to reach the widest possible audience. Not embracing technology and innovation would leave this world famous sporting event lagging behind its competitors, and close down entry points to a younger audience.

‘Social media, for example, will play an important part in this year’s competition in a way it never has done before. Wimbledon has its own presence on the likes of Snapchat and Periscope and will be hosting a live blog on its own website. So far, so ace. If you, the viewer, want to get involved however, it’s a different matter entirely however. Back in April, Wimbledon issued a statement saying that selfie sticks will be banned and last week a statement was issued saying that Periscope will not be allowed.’

Marketing magazine The Drum points out that sports broadcasting is one of the areas in which the complexity of rights issues is being exposed by the new and popular technology.

‘Some of the earliest adopters of the technologies have been marketers. However, while the broadcasting of live content is a powerful new tool, without the ability to edit and clear content before it is shown, consumers and brands alike need to beware broadcasting content which infringes other parties’ IP rights or breaks laws. Several of the early problems have arisen around sports events. Footage of the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight was streamed by many users on Periscope, prompting Dick Costolo to tweet “the winner is…@periscopeco”, and HBO (which had the broadcast rights to the fight) to send takedown notices to Twitter.’

The quality of image from a live streaming broadcast isn’t enough to compete with the professionals, particularly when it comes to spotting a small and fast moving ball. What social broadcasting is good at though is the thing that all social media excels at; the sharing of the informal moments or the outtakes that broadcasters are prevented from or chose not to show. With this in mind Radar predicts Periscope to be the home of Wimbledon’s slip ups, temper tantrums and sweary bits.


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