Shore's Blog: Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff answers questions about the company's response to the technical difficulties that occurred during the Showdown in the Sun iPPVs
By Chris Shore
Thursday, April 5, 2012 2:00 p.m. CT
I spoke with Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff today and asked him about the situation Friday and Saturday with the iPPV technical issues and response from the company, both during the iPPVs and immediately after. I voiced my biggest concern, and that of many fans on the Internet, that ROH took almost two hours to address the issue on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Koff's answer surprised me a little.
"We are a customer of Go Fight Live. Fans paid Go Fight Live for the PPV. We felt it was Go Fight Live's responsibility to address the issue with those who purchased the PPV, and they did reach out to those fans. But the situation was beyond our control, so I don't feel like we had to address it. Had the problems occurred on our end, with something we were responsible for, I probably would have responded in a greater and quicker manner."
On this point, Koff is technically correct. The problems Friday were certainly that of Go Fight Live. Saturday was a fluke that is ultimately nobody's fault, just incredibly unlucky timing. Go Fight Live is the first line of defense against any issues that occur because it is their technology, and ROH pays a fee--and a hefty one if they have the same deal as everyone else--to Go Fight Live to transmit their show.
That said, most people are not going to appreciate the nuance of that argument, however accurate it is. Many fans over the past few days have placed the blame squarely on Go Fight Live, but an equal number never get there. They perceive this as an ROH failure, and wonder why ROH didn't do more to address the issue. That may not be fair, but that is their perception. And as the saying goes, perception is reality. ROH should have addressed the problems better, even if they had no control, as good public relations. That alone may have softened fans reactions to the technical problems.
Koff also pointed out that iPPV is still not a solid technology yet, a point I do not disagree with at all. As has been pointed out, there have been several iPPVs by several companies that have had a myriad of problems. This is undoubtedly true. But it is worth pointing out that ROH knew this when they chose to use iPPV as their medium. That choice alone makes them responsible for some of the issues. Still, the majority of the gripes I have heard are not with the issues themselves, but the response. Especially the decision to post the matches that were lost because of the brown out on Saturday for free to the web.
Koff's response to my question about putting up the "Lost Matches" from Saturday's show for free was not a surprise. "You know, sometimes you're dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. First off, let me say that we had no way to prevent people from seeing those videos unless they were Ringside (paid) members. Even then, there could be Ringside members who didn't order the PPV who got to see them. So we made a decision to put them on the site for everyone because those matches are too important not to be seen."
As someone who paid for the PPVs, this annoys me personally, but Koff has a point. The matches should be seen. If adding them to the GFL replay is impossible, then posting them on their website is the only way to go. And if you are going to have free riders any way you do it, why not reach as many people as possible and hopefully create a few fans in the process. It is not the ideal solution, but in Koff's opinion, the best solution they had.
I thanked Koff for his time and asked if there were any plans for refunds or future credits and he directed me to Go Fight Live as that is their decision (a direction I do intend to follow) and started to let him go when a final question hit me based on his responses. I asked if ROH was happy with their relationship with GFL and if they planned to move forward with GFL as their carrier. Koff's response was telling, even in its non-committal language, "After every show we sit down and have a meeting, which we will have this week once TV recordings are completed. We will talk about everything and make plans to move forward from there."
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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