The 2nd Last Thing I Write About Willow
by Devanshu Mehta
So it’s been a fascinating couple of days. I’ve spoken with a number of people about the Willow saga, including the CEO of Willow TV, Mr. Vijay Srinivasan. Which leads to make only the following points:
- Everything I wrote in my article can be backed up by reputable media sources (and, I’ve been told, independent corroboration by people close to Willow), except for my final leap of logic: that their web site woes were linked to their financial woes. I had two narratives, one of a failing web site and another of a deteriorating financial situation. One began in April, the other ended in April. As I told Mr. Srinivasan, it wasn’t rocket science to make the connection. If I got it wrong, so be it.
- I regret one thing in my original post: the title. I tried to be dramatic after spending an entire long article making sure I had all the facts right. It’s something I see in mainstream media all the time, but I thought I was better than that. Sometimes when you think your blog doesn’t have an audience, you do stupid things. Rule #37 of blogging: Always assume the person you are writing about will read your blog and sue you for it. Mr. Vijay Srinivasan is not suing me, of course, but is disappointed. That is the only part of my blog Mr. Srinivasan told me he took issue with. He says they’re doing fine financially.
- I was asked why I didn’t get in touch with Willow before posting the story. Simple answer: they don’t put any contact information out in the open other than their support email. And no one answers their support email. I do not understand how a web site can go dead in this day and age. It’s not that hard to put up a simple “Great things coming soon, we’re working on improvements to the back-end” (which is what Mr. Srinivasan said Willow is up to at the moment).
- A word of advice for Willow and Mr. Srinivasan: this is the Internet. The only way to beat the bad press is to get your voice out there. If you had a presence on the Internet, either through simple emails to your customers, or a responsive twitter/facebook account, or just old-fashioned updates to your website like they did in the ’90s, you could have avoided all of this.
A final note: I love Willow TV, with all its quirks. They provided the best cricket experience I have ever had– including the 16 years I’ve lived in India. Has anyone ever been able to watch cricket on their phone, and then seamlessly continue on their laptop, and then seamlessly continue on their iPad, and then effortlessly continue on their TV? It was great. Which is what made the subsequent fall even more dissapointing.
I hope I don’t have to write more about Willow. Two days, and I’m mostly sick of it. I hope they just get back to being awesome so I can forget about this business. I don’t want to be known as the blog about financial dealings behind media rights for cricket streaming in America.
It’s just not cricket.
Thanks so much for clarifying the WillowTV story. Pretty much as I had guessed, but nice to see the chapter-and-verse.
I, too, liked all the innovation (great video scorecard, for example), but , for me, the absence of live cricket post-WC from my DirecTV subscription has been the worst thing. And one consequence of that absence — I’ve hardly followed the IPL at all this year, after following it quite closely for the first three years. I’m probably not the typical WillowTV subscriber — another consequence is that I’ve just paid even more attention to the first two months of the County Cricket season — and intriguing they have been. Thank goodness for those BBC local radio webcasts (also under threat, btw). All the same, I have to think that not only has the IPL’s domestic audience declined (see recent article in Cricinfo), but that the disputes over rights have hurt its potentially large audience here in the States, too.
Thanks for a great post. I share your love of Willow TV, and it’s the reason that it is so frustrating when things go wrong.
You’re welcome. Thanks for reading. I hope Willow comes back strong, they came so close to getting it right earlier this year.
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