Poll: Are Live Streams Worth the Cost?

Galway Downs Eventing Live April 2016

The FEI and various other organizations have been trying to think of ways to promote eventing so that it is more accessible to the general public. While we talk of things like name changes, joke about making dressage more interesting and think of different ways to explain scoring, it seems that one of the easiest ways to promote the sport is simply to make it easier to watch.

Did you know you can watch all the action at Galway Downs this weekend thanks to a live stream produced, filmed and provided by Ride On Video?

Last November, Ride On Video, a fantastic family-owned business, pursued the dream of bringing the sport live to people from around the world. Spotlighting the CCI divisions, you could live stream the dressage and stadium portions of the event from Galway Downs. This was amazing for those of us that could not be there for North America’s final CCI of the year.

This year, Ride On tried an experiment. They offered live streaming coverage for the upper levels at Fresno County Horse Park, as well as non-FEI divisions recently at Copper Meadows, with a slew of visitors accessing the site.

But like everything related to horses, nothing comes cheaply. Outfitting a single camera for Ride On Video’s live stream technology costs $3,000 — and that doesn’t include the camera, batteries and other needed equipment. A single camera is currently used for dressage, for example, while cross country can take up to 16 cameras depending on the course.

What Ride On Video proposed was charging a small $2.99 fee to watch the entire event during this trial weekend, hoping to raise enough to cover the live streaming costs and take the same model on to the Event at Rebecca Farm in July.

What they found, however, was that viewers dropped dramatically with the fee for the service. The concept behind the Ride On model is that the funds would be used to simply cover the costs of the live stream, and all remaining funds would be put toward rider prizes at future shows.

This way everyone wins — we at home get to watch our sport, owners can view their horses when they can’t attend every event, our sport gets increased visibility, the riders get prizes, and Ride On Video can continue that dream of giving back to eventing

We here at EN receive countless comments about loving the live streams, and now we want you to weigh in again. Is live streaming worth it? How much would you pay to watch a full weekend of coverage? Or do you think all live streaming should be free?

And just in case you want to see the action at Galway Downs, click here for the schedule for the weekend, and you can also watch without paying by using the coupon code FREE. But paying the $2.99 to support Ride On Video’s live streaming endeavor would be nice too.