Mr. Clean’s long chat with World Sailing Chief Marketeer Malcolm Page last week revealed that ISAF’s budgeted near-million-dollar line item for “World Sailing TV” referred to the 23-minute monthly television show that is apparently the keystone of ISAF’s new rebranding effort. Episode 1 dropped on Youtube yesterday, and we struggled to get through it. We can’t say it’s terrible – it does cover a few interesting things and some desperately dull ones – but we can say with some certainty that if the product stays like this, it will fail.
The first edition of World Sailing TV is like stepping back in time 15 years, which makes a lot of sense; as Page told us, it is essentially a more blue-blazered, olympic-ringed version of the Seamaster Sailing, the late night TV and order-by-mail DVD series that preceded the broadband internet era by a few essential years. But instead of a modern interpretation of what that great series did, World Sailing TV just recreates it…lazily. Labored voiceover, nothing ‘editorial’ in it at all, the series looks to us like 23 minutes of rights-free assembled PR footage set to a vanilla rights-free music track with a few dragged out interviews all tied together with a dull, labored voiceover that’s more Downton Abbey than Red Bull.
We know we’re not the target audience; not only is the information old, stale, and sanitized, but it’s almost an insult to those who stay up on the sailing news. Perhaps it is for non-sailors? It’s really hard to tell. Undoubtedly someone at ISAF has a list from some TV distribution guy that shows how this groundbreaking TV show is going to reach 200 countries and hundreds of millions of eyeballs and change the world for the sport of sailing, but we all know that’s just not true. After just one show, we’ll give World Sailing TV…4 stars out of 10, and if the next one is equally dull and uncreative, it will drop rapidly. We all deserve another try.
Title shout to another movie best forgotten (except for Sophie Marceau).