CurlTV: How Does It Compute?
David Nedohin told us, during our radio broadcast at The Scott, that CurlTV has about 1500 subscribers (I am guessing that number will have doubled or more by the end of next week).
Let's suppose those are all annual subscribers (very unlikely) and that, on average, the revenue from each of them is about $100 [Cdn] per subscriber. If so, the gross annual receipts for CurlTV have been running at a maximum of about $150,000 per year and could reach, say, $250,000. Add to that the advertising revenues from their website and from their shows on Rogers SportsNet, plus additional monthly subscriptions that they will pick up over the next month, and maybe their revenues might max out at $300K this year.
What are their expenses? They seem to have at least three, and maybe four or five employees during curling telecasts, but most of their employees are undoubtedly temps (albeit not all that cheap, though -- most are technicians; we know from past experience that sportscasters work cheap, though). They also seem to have several administrators. Labour expenses can't be all that low.
How much, if anything, do they pay for broadcasting rights to the various events? [Digressive rant: Surely (I hope!) Curl TV did not receive exclusive round robin broadcasting rights to the men's world championship for peanuts..... or did the CCA f&^% up again? Who negotiated this deal at The Worlds, for how much, and why???]
How much is an acceptable rate of return on CurlTV's invested capital (what economists call a "normal rate of return", the opportunity cost of their invest capital)?
Webcasting may well be the wave of the future, and Curl TV might be breaking even by now. In the future, look for them to sell tournament-based subscriptions rather than (or in addition to) annual, monthly, or weekly subscriptions.
For Curl TV to survive, though, they have to hope that curling does not catch on big-time among sports fans. If it does, then commercial tv, including ESPN2, will outbid them for the broadcasting rights. Meantime, they have a lot to offer for a dedicated niche market.