Skating TV rights holders should look into revenue shared streaming

NaVi

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Oct 30, 2014
Ad-supported revenue sharing streaming services are starting to gain a lot of momentum. Here's a good article to read to get a quick survey of the services available: https://www.fastcompany.com/90304498/20-great-free-streaming-services-for-cord-cutters

There's two main types of services... those that just have "on demand" videos of movies and TV shows and those that kind of emulate TV channels through live streams(though they sometimes have on demand functions). The"on demand" services are probably not relevant until a sports focused one is developed.

The service I'm going to focus most on is Pluto TV because it seems to be the one with the most momentum behind it. Others in the same live channel segment include Xumo, Roku Channel, and Stirr. Many of the channels are duplicated between the services which points to the possibility of making content available to multiple services.

Quick rundown about Pluto TV: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/pluto-tv-free-faq,news-27125.html
Wikipedia page is worth a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto_TV
A list of channels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pluto_TV_channels
Watch Pluto TV Live in your browser for free. Comes on in an instant and no signup is required.: https://pluto.tv/live-tv
(Unsure what countries that works with. Pluto TV is also available in Canada and some European countries. I tested this in a German VPN and it redirected to their German front page... don't think you can stream German content in your browser yet)
The sports channels begin at 455: https://pluto.tv/live-tv/pluto-tv-sports

I'll focus on sports but the other channels are worth checking out to see what kind of content they're looking for. There's a surfing channel. There's a NFL channel showing old football games and documentaries. There's a MLS(Major League Soccer) channel showing old matches. There's a "Winter Sports" channel that currently seems focused on skiing and snowboarding. There's an outdoors/hunting/fishing channel. There is Fight Network for general combat sports(used to watch it a lot a few years ago for muay thai) and another network solely for Glory Kickboxing. There's a channel showing best of shows and pay per views of TNA Impact Wrestling. There's a sports betting channel. There's a couple college conference and university oriented channels.

I think figure skating would not only fit in but would do well against many of these other channels. I actually it would be in the top half of the current sports channels.

So what kind of content would be good to put on a channel.

The World Championships (including exhibition) - edited down to about the Grand Prix Final level of skaters... you could easily get at least an hours worth of content per year out of each discipline for most years after 1980ish(maybe a bit later) and at least a half hour for years before that. I'm going to put this at about 200 hours of good content though it's probably more around 300.
Grand Prix Final (including exhibition) - edited down to keep the flow going... at least 100 hours of good content... but probably more around 150.
The rest of the ISU archived events would be better shown in compilation rather than full events. The Japan Open and World Team Trophy could be interesting though. The junior events would probably best best as part of compilations but the ladies JGPF is often my favorite event of the year.

It would be interesting to see the old events with new ideal camera editing not chosen live. And maybe with a single stationary camera.

It would be nice to have the old film remastered(perhaps use AI upscaling).

Thematic compilations: Things like "Best of Yuna Kim" or "Journey of Yulia Lipnitskaya" or "The performances of the 2010 Olympic quad" or "Best skating of 1993", "Best galas of 1980s", "Best pairs skates of all time", "Best junior skates of all time", "Best skaters as juniors", etc, etc, etc. etc The possibilities are almost endless. This is where the skates from non-Worlds and non-GPF would be shown the most.

Skating Shows: Old Stars on Ice and Champions on Ice would be nice to have. Art on Ice. Japanese ice shows. Plushenko and Averbukh's shows. There's a lot of different ice shows to show and plenty of archives to go through. I really like the ice shows that are like plays... like Plushenko's Snow King... something like Nutcracker on Ice would be good to show during the Christmas season. There's the Holiday on Ice shows. It seems show skating is on an upswing in general(at least outside the US).

Professional Competitions: World Professional Figure Skating Championships, 90s cheesefests(Ice Wars, etc)

Reality TV Shows: There have been quite a few "dancing on ice" shows in many different countries and it might be possible to show them. The only one I've really watched is Averbukh's Ice Age Kids show and I'd love for that to be shown(maybe have an alternative English commentator and use subtitles or dub overs for the Russian speaking parts).

Current ISU events: JGP medal winners, Challenger Series top 6. Perhaps having this platform would give flexibility in creating new events.

Documentaries

Maybe a weekly news and interview show like the Icetalk podcast.

Figure skating has more than enough content to make a good channel. Every hour contains about 8-10 minutes of commercials. Which means about 20 hours a day of content. There's channel showing nothing James Bond movies, Dog the Bounty hunter episodes, Ru Paul's Drag Race episodes, Unsolved Mystery episodes, etc and figure skating can conjure up more content than that.

I do see a few problems though. I'm not sure how the music copyright situation works out. The ISU may not have an archive with commentary and would have to rely on working with past licensees. Before this year, I think Eurosport was the longest continuous license holder in English and perhaps getting access to their archives might open up the logjam for the current rights. The biggest issue may be rights holders not working together to put out the best possible content. Rights holders might be more willing to share content if they knew exactly where the money was going. Perhaps extra prize money to skaters... or money to help pay training costs to up and coming skaters.

As far as how money money could be made, I don't have a firm idea. But there is this anecdote: https://digiday.com/media/consisten...ng-incremental-revenue-for-video-programmers/

Three publishers with 24-hour streaming channels on Pluto TV said they are on track this year to collect “mid six figures” in revenue from the platform, which shares ad revenue with its video programming providers. A fourth publisher, which supplies Pluto TV with videos that the platform programs into its own branded channels such as Pluto TV Drama and Pluto TV Comedy, said it will collect between $50,000 and $100,000 from Pluto TV this year. Other media sources said their annual earnings from Pluto TV range between six and seven figures. (Pluto TV declined to comment on its payments.)

So three channels last year were making "mid six figures" and someone supplying content to one of Pluto's own channels was making between 50-100K. TBH, 50-100K is probably about what NBC is getting from their NBC Gold figure skating app directly(though indirectly they help build their brand).

Regardless of the money made, it'd be good to have a channel for the community building aspect of having a channel.

When people online talk about Pluto TV they often say it's good for finding something to lounge to in order to pass the time... or to be background noise. I think figure skating would be good for this and I think it can also be good for watching during workouts because you can stop paying attention and think about something else while listening to the music.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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For this proposal to go anywhere, you'd need to address it directly to the ISU. Posting it here for input of others and ideas is great, but it won't do much otherwise.
 

CoyoteChris

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Dec 4, 2004
Without knowing the current economics of NBC Sports "Gold" in the US or even how the bids for streaming rights work at all, I would guess this is a non starter in the US. Current Ad supported TV broadcasts in the US for skating are about DOA. Many of us old geezers are spoiled by the DVR, and the VCR before it. I dont watch ads. I am not going back to watching ads of reduced skating coverage in any case. Especially with Tara and Johnny. I pay $40 to $60 for What? 150 odd hours of skating? No commericals and no Tara and Johnny and live and on demand? That is cheep entertainment.
I have no issues with those that are willing to sit through 8 minutes of commercials to watch an hour of coverage. Just allow ME to purchase streaming sans commericals. ( I also have to wonder how long that 8 minutes will hold. I remember network TV having 4-6 minutes an hour of commercials, with four breaks. Now its five plus breaks. and if you record the morning news, 33 percent is commercial presentation.)
 

NaVi

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Oct 30, 2014
I'm not talking about current skating at all... this is primarily about showing the best of the past top skating events. Everything else is extra. NBC Sports "Gold" would just coexist with it. It was only used as a kind of baseline for expected revenue. But I was probably underestimating the NBC Sports "Gold" revenue by a lot though... they probably have at least 2500 subscribers which would be $150000.

As far as attracting advertisers go, there's a lot of weird niche channels on these services. I don't think it'll be a problem.
 

ice coverage

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I'm not talking about current skating at all... this is primarily about showing the best of the past top skating events. ...

If (as I suspect) the ISU sold U.S. media rights in perpetuity to NBC for 2010 Worlds (for example), then any other site would have to geo-block 2010 Worlds in the U.S. And the same probably would be true for most other major competitions.

The same would be true also for other countries where a rights-holder purchased media rights in perpetuity.
 

NaVi

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If (as I suspect) the ISU sold U.S. media rights in perpetuity to NBC for 2010 Worlds (for example), then any other site would have to geo-block 2010 Worlds in the U.S. And the same probably would be true for most other major competitions.

The same would be true also for other countries where a rights-holder purchased media rights in perpetuity.

NBC surely owns the rights to whatever they produced. It'd be interesting to know the exact wording of the agreement. It might be possible that exclusivity is not for perpetuity but is time limited. Or that it was drew up in a way that doesn't preclude the ISU creating their own channel. Depending on how the agreement was drawn up there may be room to either stream the events with retrospective commentary... or with commentary from other English language countries if the ISU acquired those rights. And it could be possible to just work with NBC... but then there's ABC and I think CBS that would have to be worked with to get the archives.

The ISU haphazardly uploaded(or unblocked) a few full skating segments from past years on their youtube channel a few weeks ago. Some(maybe all) segments of last season's worlds, some of the worlds before that, and last season's GPF are uploaded to the ISU skating channel. They are not geoblocked. But who knows what the exact rights situation is.

Here's an interesting article I read yesterday: ISU Willing To Give Away TV Rights To '09 Worlds https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com...ling-To-Give-Away-TV-Rights-To-09-Worlds.aspx
 

Miller

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Dec 29, 2016
I do see a few problems though. I'm not sure how the music copyright situation works out. The ISU may not have an archive with commentary and would have to rely on working with past licensees. Before this year, I think Eurosport was the longest continuous license holder in English and perhaps getting access to their archives might open up the logjam for the current rights. The biggest issue may be rights holders not working together to put out the best possible content.

This would be another good reason for the ISU to have commentary on its Skating ISU channel i.e. so they don't have to negotiate in future with NBC say to get Tara and Johnny's commentary.

I could see something like this working in the UK where we've gone from 'the best' i.e. British Eurosport to the worst i.e. no TV coverage at all (let's hope we'll be OK for Worlds, maybe Euros). Also it would work with more current events. For example there's probably a lot of keen casual viewers of British Eurosport only just realising they've lost their figure skating coverage, and something like this may give them a lot more than they get with the Skating ISU channel (that's if they know it even exists). However you would need the commentary.

Also I couldn't see it working in the other dozen or so European countries that no longer have TV coverage, as they would need need their own version of commentary - Ireland would be OK - and I can't see the ISU providing lots of commentators in different languages - this may explain why they've gone commentary free and/or why Ted Barton does his commentary for the Junior Grand Prix only at the start and end i.e. so that he's not talking over a skater's performance in what for many people would be a foreign language.

However if commentary were provided I could see it working in the UK/Ireland/other English speaking countries without TV coverage, though as pointed out the in perpetuity stuff could be a problem.
 

ice coverage

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This would be another good reason for the ISU to have commentary on its Skating ISU channel i.e. so they don't have to negotiate in future with NBC say to get Tara and Johnny's commentary. ...

If what the ISU is selling to NBC is exclusive U.S. rights in perpetuity:

It would not matter whether the ISU wanted Tara/Johnny's commentary or not.

For just the skating itself (even without commentary), the ISU (or any other entity) would be required to geo-block in the U.S.​

... But who knows what the exact rights situation is. ...

My point is that the devil is in the details.

The concept of a platform (and I think your vision is for a worldwide platform?) that offers video of old events sounds simple enough. But the legalities would not be so simple.

And again, I'm just using NBC and the U.S. as one example.
 

moonvine

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I'm not talking about current skating at all... this is primarily about showing the best of the past top skating events. Everything else is extra. NBC Sports "Gold" would just coexist with it. It was only used as a kind of baseline for expected revenue. But I was probably underestimating the NBC Sports "Gold" revenue by a lot though... they probably have at least 2500 subscribers which would be $150000.

As far as attracting advertisers go, there's a lot of weird niche channels on these services. I don't think it'll be a problem.

What’s interesting is that from what I can tell USA gymnastics puts every event it has rights to on its YouTube channel ad free. I’m talking from last week back to 1976. Whatever isn’t on USA gymnastics YouTube is on FIG’s. So if I want nostalgia I can and have watched a comp from 1976. I’m guessing USA gymnastics has way more pull than USFS. Whatever the reasons are, I’m very glad I’m not laying down another who knows what to NBC Gold to watch gymnastics. I do have to wonder how this benefits USA gymnastics because if I want to watch commercial free I can just wait a couple of days after the event.
 

moonvine

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If what the ISU is selling to NBC is exclusive U.S. rights in perpetuity:

It would not matter whether the ISU wanted Tara/Johnny's commentary or not.

For just the skating itself (even without commentary), the ISU (or any other entity) would be required to geo-block in the U.S.​



My point is that the devil is in the details.

The concept of a platform (and I think your vision is for a worldwide platform?) that offers video of old events sounds simple enough. But the legalities would not be so simple.

And again, I'm just using NBC and the U.S. as one example.

This seems crazy to me. I’m not saying you are wrong, but I can’t access competitions so long ago on NBC Sports Gold. They aren’t making money off of it so what advantage is it to them to block it? There isn’t even a way I can pay money to see them. Unless they are planning something for the future.
 

CoyoteChris

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This seems crazy to me. I’m not saying you are wrong, but I can’t access competitions so long ago on NBC Sports Gold. They aren’t making money off of it so what advantage is it to them to block it? There isn’t even a way I can pay money to see them. Unless they are planning something for the future.

Just a guess but I dont think they care. What ever the lawyers say, goes. If someone owns the I love Lucy series, they dont care if the episodes get played or not...the just want the money if they do. I wonder if I put up the 2008 US Nats on youtube, if it would get taken down? Maybe its up there already?
 

moonvine

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Just a guess but I dont think they care. What ever the lawyers say, goes. If someone owns the I love Lucy series, they dont care if the episodes get played or not...the just want the money if they do. I wonder if I put up the 2008 US Nats on youtube, if it would get taken down? Maybe its up there already?

There are many shows that are on YouTube that don’t get taken down. I can watch whole seasons of stuff. Several factors seem to be considered, age of show, whether it is available on DVD (if so they’ll get yanked), maybe some of it is plain dumb luck. ABC seems better, I can watch Rudy Galindo’s nationals win no problem.
 

NaVi

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Glad someone bumped this up because I was going to let it die.

The real impetus to this thread is that the only way to watch old skating is through vhs recordings uploaded to youtube. The only exception is that it's possible to find 1080p HD versions of many 90s Olympic performances taken from rebroadcasts on Japanese TV... but that's about it. (There are videos that say "4K" but I think are just upscaled 1080p) It can be fun to watch those high quality past broadcasts as there's a real "time capsule" aspect to them.

Which makes me think the best way to get higher quality versions of past performances may be if someone in Russia or Japan(or maybe China and Korea) would like to rebroadcast old competitions. But a shared revenue channel on something like Pluto TV seems to be the best potential way for skating to be rebroadcast in the US and western countries.

I might be possible that US Figure Skating might be able to organize something without the ISU. The big problem though is that it does seem like CBS(John Tesh hosting) ABC/ESPN and NBC all showed the world figure skating championships at one point. Seems like it would be difficult to get them all to coordinate on this.
 

moonvine

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Glad someone bumped this up because I was going to let it die.

The real impetus to this thread is that the only way to watch old skating is through vhs recordings uploaded to youtube. The only exception is that it's possible to find 1080p HD versions of many 90s Olympic performances taken from rebroadcasts on Japanese TV... but that's about it. (There are videos that say "4K" but I think are just upscaled 1080p) It can be fun to watch those high quality past broadcasts as there's a real "time capsule" aspect to them.

Which makes me think the best way to get higher quality versions of past performances may be if someone in Russia or Japan(or maybe China and Korea) would like to rebroadcast old competitions. But a shared revenue channel on something like Pluto TV seems to be the best potential way for skating to be rebroadcast in the US and western countries.

I might be possible that US Figure Skating might be able to organize something without the ISU. The big problem though is that it does seem like CBS(John Tesh hosting) ABC/ESPN and NBC all showed the world figure skating championships at one point. Seems like it would be difficult to get them all to coordinate on this.

It would be fabulous to see Tai and Randy’s 1979 world championship skate again. It is available on YouTube. And yes, ABC had rights for a good amount of time, CBS had rights for a hot minute, and NBC has had them for a long time...2 decades?
 

NaVi

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NBC is working on their own ad supported streaming service. It seems to be more of a video-on-demand service rather than a live streamed one but they are planning on adding sports content.

NBC is leaning toward making its Peacock streaming service free to everyone

Bonnie Hammer: Peacock Streamer Will Be Stocked With Entertainment, News, Sports and Unscripted Programs

NBCUniversal will draw on its news, sports, cable unscripted and Spanish-language divisions to provide an array of programming beyond scripted series for the launch of the streaming platform that has been dubbed Peacock.

Nine months after she was tapped to lead NBCUniversal’s charge into the streaming wars, Bonnie Hammer on Tuesday offered the first glimpse into the programming vision for the venture, targeted for launch in April.

Hammer, NBCU’s longtime cable entertainment chief who was upped to chairman of direct to consumer and digital enterprises in January, revealed that programming plans for the advertising-supported streamer will involve more contributions from NBCUniversal’s in-house content engines than were previously disclosed. NBCU plans a big consumer marketing push for Peacock to kick in as NBCU mounts cross-platform coverage from July 24-Aug. 9 of the 2020 summer Olympic games in Tokyo.

“We’re going to be scaling toward the Olympics,” Hammer said. “We’ll make a lot of noise about what we’re doing.”

Hammer said the guiding principle of content development for Peacock was to assemble a mix of “timely and timeless” programming, meaning an emphasis on news and sports-related fare with the urgency to drive live viewing, coupled with a deep library of TV classics to draw binge-watchers.

Even though NBC has had the Olympics since 2002 and Worlds(and all/most skating events) for a decade now, the Olympics/Worlds/GPF coverage would need to go back further into the 80s at least(though I'd love to back even further) to make fans(or at least me) really excited.

In my ideal world, we'd have a video-on-demand service that was comprehensive for the major events and then there'd be a a live channel that spent most of it's time cycling through the most interesting cream of the crop for the major past events. And that channel itself could be used for live events or shows.

But my biggest fear is that we would get something a bit half-arsed, they go on a copyright rampage where we lose all the content on the youtube channels( not just those flagged), and then they lose interest.
 

NaVi

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NBC's Peacock streaming service has a release date: https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/16/21066188/nbc-peacock-streaming-service-release-date-price

Peacock, NBC’s Netflix-competing streaming service, will hatch on April 15 for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and on July 15 for the rest of the country. The catch? Unlike HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and every other streaming service currently commanding attention, Peacock will be free. That’s right, baby: all the Frasier you could possibly want (and The Office, I guess) for no subscription fee.

Well, that depends on which version of Peacock you sign up for. The NBC service will have tiers, one of which will be free and ad-supported. Peacock Free gets you next-day access to current seasons of new broadcast TV series, complete classic series, popular movies, and select episodes of Peacock-exclusive originals.

Peacock Premium, meanwhile, will come with a bunch of content on top of what you get for free: next-day access to current seasons of returning shows, full-season Peacock originals, and early access to talk shows. Comcast and Cox cable TV subscribers will get Peacock Premium at no extra cost. For everyone else, Peacock Premium will be available for $4.99 a month with ads and $9.99 with no ads.

Here's a list of content they have: https://deadline.com/feature/peacock-tv-nbc-universal-streaming-service-1202832718/

The sports section

SPORTS

Tokyo Olympic Games

Live coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies before they air on NBC in primetime.

Three daily Olympics shows: Tokyo Live, with live coverage of one of the day’s most exciting events; Tokyo Daily Digest, with midday highlights of the Games; and Tokyo Tonight, a complement to the primetime show that will help audiences catch up on the day’s events.

Live stream of more than 1,000 hours of exclusive coverage from the Tokyo Paralympics.

The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, 24/7, 365, featuring live coverage and other content as America’s best athletes prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics and beyond.

Premier League & Ryder Cup

Beginning in August, 2,000 hours of Premier League coverage, including more than 140 matches that aren’t available on television as well as clips and replays.

The Ryder Cup golf tournament will be coming to the service in September with featured groups of Europe’s and America’s best pairings.
 

NaVi

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Peacock Premium is the new NBC Gold. Seems more appealing since it comes with more stuff with the subscription but I haven't looked too far into it.


Bumping up my old thread because I still think this is a good idea. Getting the best of old figure skating in the best quality(perhaps AI upscaled) up on one of these streaming services should be a priority. Would be good to do something in the run up to the Olympics.
 
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CoyoteChris

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Peacock Premium is the new NBC Gold. Seems more appealing since it comes with more stuff with the subscription but I haven't looked too far into it.


Bumping up my old thread because I still think this is a good idea. Getting the best of old figure skating in the best quality(perhaps AI upscaled) up on one of these streaming services should be a priority. Would be good to do something in the run up to the Olympics.
While wrestling with my Roku trying to find Peacock, I noticed upwards of 900 apps in the Roku app store covering about any activity you can name. Except figure skating. I have no idea about legalities but I would think NBC controls in America about all recent coverage rights. If there were money to be made allowing people to pay for the right to play back any comp, why would they not make an app and do that? I have to wonder if there really is that much money to be made. It is interesting that we were offered skating on NBC Sports gold and it pretty much worked for a fair price. But now, they...NBC... have combined skating with a whole bushel basket full of other entertainment. I watch very little TV but if I did, Peacock sans commercials is a whole lot better value at 10 bucks a month for 6 months than NBC sports gold.
 

NaVi

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While wrestling with my Roku trying to find Peacock, I noticed upwards of 900 apps in the Roku app store covering about any activity you can name. Except figure skating. I have no idea about legalities but I would think NBC controls in America about all recent coverage rights. If there were money to be made allowing people to pay for the right to play back any comp, why would they not make an app and do that? I have to wonder if there really is that much money to be made. It is interesting that we were offered skating on NBC Sports gold and it pretty much worked for a fair price. But now, they...NBC... have combined skating with a whole bushel basket full of other entertainment. I watch very little TV but if I did, Peacock sans commercials is a whole lot better value at 10 bucks a month for 6 months than NBC sports gold.

While I'd love the archives to be somewhere, the more probable option is probably to have a channel that cycles through competitions on Pluto TV or similar(Roku has their own I think). Some of these services have DVR functionality if you pay a premium. Better to try to grab the audience just looking for something to pass the time than those looking for the competitions directly.

There's very little direct money to be made but every little bit counts and you can never know if you don't try. When I look at the sport options available on those free streaming services I think figure skating would stand out well. Perhaps someone will stumble upon the channel and want to put their children in figure skating or come to the events themselves.

Building community should be an end worth considering as much as money though I think this would be at least revenue neutral.
 
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