On DRL and Twitter video distribution

I’ve enjoyed watching DRL (drone racing league) for a couple of seasons now. They’re the most professional of the broadcast drone races, have high production values, and are generally well put together. It’s clear they’re developed by an experienced production team.

I also am not in the US most of the time, which makes it difficult to watch. It’s not a popular-enough show to find through most means, and their international distribution has been limited. I was able to watch most of last season through Sky Sports in the UK, a few weeks after they aired in the US.

This season (season 3) they announced a new international distribution deal with Twitter, and I was very excited. No more hunting for copies of it online somewhere, or staying up until the middle of the night to watch the US broadcast.

However, what they’re broadcasting on Twitter isn’t the same as the broadcast they’re showing in countries with traditional distribution deals. You can see an example here:

Instead of the traditional 60-minute TV broadcast, spread across two episodes (sometimes), you have a 4 hour Twitter broadcast.

More content != better. I liked the polish and flow of the 60 minute episode. On Twitter they show a heat (race), then re-show it from one perspective, then show it from another perspective, then show all of the crashes again, and then do an interview with the winner. Then, finally, we get to the next race.

I understand that they probably couldn’t air the same thing on Twitter, so that they could still sell their broadcast rights to TV networks. But this is an inferior experience. I end up doing lots of skipping after each heat, trying to guess when the next heat will begin. Eventually I figure it out, but I’d much prefer the 60 minute episode. I’m glad I have a place to watch it legally, but hopefully next year a TV network will pick it up here in Lithuania…