You may have noticed BiE hasn’t been updating as regularly as usual since EuroBasket. Fear not, there is a heap going on behind the scenes
The last few weeks have been testing, the next few will be just as much, and when it’s all done it should be worth it. Last night I posted some tweets explaining what’s going on here, here’s a better breakdown to keep you all informed.
The stuff you can’t see
Followers of BiE know a few things about us, this is the third era of the site following Christophe/Tobias and Os. We are based in Ireland, in fact as I write this I’m at a double-header in Dublin, and this is as close to an office as I get right now…outside of my day job. By day, I’m a technology and beer journalist (yes, I literally get paid to drink) at a national paper here in Ireland. That’s a great position and allows me access to some really high quality broadband, which when following streams of games is crucial. It is however far from ideal. Working from my day job’s office and coffee shops/pubs should really be a thing I do in addition to having a main base. That’s what we are taking on right now.
Right now I’m working on fixing that. The running gags I’ve been making on Twitter and other social media outlets about cleaning my apartment are about more than just not living like a pig. The place is undergoing a massive overhaul so I can build a mini-office in my bedroom. This is going to require a heap of effort but the end result is promising. Discussions are under way with a carpenter about a unique desk, one that has multiple brackets to enable up to four screens at once. In order to do that level of streaming, the broadband connection in my place is going to have to get a lot faster than the current 24 Mbps and the plan is to upgrade to 100 Mbps at a minimum. Coupled with that we are going to set it up so that the office can be the primary home for The Ballin After and the set up should also allow us to expand our audio content.
The stuff you can see
As mentioned above, The Ballin After is a key part of what we are doing and new videos are going up every Tuesday morning. In addition we are also going to have the odd special that will be heavily flagged. Considering we made a 28 minute preview show of the Euroleague Final Four last May on a whim at no notice, what we can do with a big set up is going to be interesting. We are also finally on Instagram, we’re Periscoping like mad, and once I work out what to use it for we’ll actually do something with Snapchat. This is more the dressing than the main course.
The big extra content
One of the main reasons BiE needs to build an at least semi-permanent home (well I rent but my landlord is sound) is podcasts. We got a logo designed and a name picked all of a year ago but actually putting one together has been a total non starter due to time and, unsurprisingly, not really having anywhere to produce it.
Streaming is the other big thing. We are going to have a heap of streams this year, I mean a stupid amount of games, and the levels and locations are going to vary wildly because that’s something this site is sort of about. We’re not just where you come for the top tier guys and teams, we are where you go to find out about the lesser spotted parts of the basketball universe. Most of the streams will be us carrying those of partners but we will also stream a few ourselves and we are working on finally making it possible to stream directly to YouTube.
We are also in talks with other sites about content partnerships, those are going to take a bit longer to process but it should lead to an over all stronger product. That being said…
Our primary focus remains longform Euro analysis
And we have an absolute heap of it in the pipeline. The profiles we experimented with late last season really went over well with you folks and we are planning/producing a bunch of them right now. Rather than rushing them out, we’re going to focus on getting what’s needed done to the physical set up over content production wherever it comes down to a choice. The medium term gain is more than worth the short term pain. That said, we have one interview in the can and another on the way which should give you something to keep you interested over the next few weeks. There are many sites that do news better than us and, frankly, always will. We’re an analysis and features site and that’s not a bad place to be. Y’all clearly seem to like us that way.
So you changed mid column from I to We…
Right now the vast bulk of the site’s work is carried out by me and that’s the way it’s going to be for quite a long time to come. BiE however has great support from occasional contributors and we’re looking to ensure we can make them far more regular. To do that, we need to focus on our revenue streams which have been deliberately of secondary concern through the first two years of my tenure. Building the new site, defining its identity, and working out what exactly what was needed to be done (hence this project) have taken up that time. That said, we have seen revenue go up. I don’t make enough to take money out of the site yet but it washes it’s back, we get enough to cover most costs including the odd article where I actually can pay a contributor. That needs to not be occasional, that needs to be the thing we do.
This all sounds expensive
Well it isn’t cheap but I’m not spending for vanity. A better BiE, from the literal desk it is based on up, is also going to be better at generating revenue but it’s going to be seat of our pants stuff for the next few months. Fortunately, my day job and general affability has go me good links to get some good deals on the more expensive side of what we are doing so that it’s not as much of a burden. We have also wildly under-played our base revenue generating abilities, as in the kind of ads that involve next to no work. The planned timeline for that side to be fixed is late November. Throw that in and we will be able to move along really fast.
How you can help
Aside from your patience, for which we are super grateful, there really is. The first and most basic is to visit the desktop version of our site as often as you can. The vast bulk of our traffic is on mobile and that’s grand but we need to get a certain amount of traffic to get rid of that annoying Bet365 ad permanently. It irritates me as much as visitors but we agreed a contract so the sooner we get it filled, the better. I’m seriously considering not making that space available to advertisers in the long-term or at least limiting it to time-limits in the future.
On the streams side, if you are involved or know of a league/team looking to get more viewers we are happy to chat to them about carrying their content. On a technical side, if you have any advice on ways to make streams better, including equipment and software tips, get in touch.
Likewise if there are aspects of the sport you want to see us cover more, get in touch. There have never been more ways to reach BiE and we listen. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or just leave a comment below.