Celtic 'fan media' isn't going anywhere - in fact, it's getting bigger and better
There’s been a lot of discussion about Celtic fan media over the last few days.
As the dust settles on an informative and entertaining media conference involving a variety of fan outlets on Friday, many have been chipping in with their thoughts on the situation. Not all of it has been kind.
As the editor of one of the biggest fansites and YouTube channels out there, I thought I’d stick my nose in and offer my perspective.
First and foremost, I have to applaud the scene at large. I have a lot of love for all the different fan media outlets and the groups who just assemble and discuss club issues. The variety is fantastic.
There are pure hobbyists who do it for nothing but the love of chatting about Celtic and football. There are those who mobilise and discuss how to make meaningful changes at the club for the benefit of supporters. There are those who have new, modern and creative business models like subscription services and Patreons.
There are others, like ourselves, who started as hobbyists but now put in lots of hard work after being given opportunities, keep the content free and use advertising to fund the project – this is akin to an American sports blog model that has been commonplace for 20 years via media groups such as SB Nation.
There’s quality included in all of the above brackets. I am a subscriber to 90 Minute Cynic, I love the Glasgow Is Green podcast, I am a member of The Celtic Trust, I check in on A Celtic State of Mind often, I’ve found a new joy in checking out the Celtic Underground Sunday Service on Twitter Spaces, I make sure to send the people that work with me to Celtic Shared meetings to get a feeling of others frustrations out there.
We try to make 67 Hail Hail as big and as good as possible, I’m very proud of the variety of content we make from simple transfer reports to in-depth videos and discussions, but I genuinely don’t see ourselves in competition with these guys. The beauty of the Celtic fan media space is that there’s something for everyone, and room for the best to succeed.
This is one of the primary reasons Celtic have been meeting with us over the last few months. They recognise the size of the audiences we’ve all built up over the years. When you look at 67 Hail Hail alone, we’re now attracting hundreds of thousands of people to our YouTube channel every month. It’s natural that the club would want to engage with us, and others. It would be downright silly if they didn’t.
We’ve been discussing, in conjunction with all your other favourite places for Celtic news and opinion, new ways forward that include us when it comes to access and information from Celtic Park. This, so far, has come caveat free. The club don’t restrict what we can write, talk about or ask Celtic staff members. It’s very encouraging.
Some of the traditional news outlets appear to not be taking this very well. There was a particularly critical opinion piece by journalist Keith Jackson today that labelled the fan media event on Friday embarrassing. That’s ironic because The Daily Record used quotes from the same event without credit over the weekend.
I’m not pretending we don’t use The Record as a source of news to opine on, like every other website and podcast, but we always credit and we are not pitching ourselves at war with them. I enjoy much of the reporting and opinion that goes on in the so-called ‘mainstream media’. As a Celtic site that prides itself on collating as much information as possible on the club, they are still crucial in many ways.
But, to some critics, one moment from one fan has apparently defined that entire endeavour on Friday. A lot of people are choosing to ignore the other 45 minutes of top-quality questions and answers that Dom McKay and Ange Postecoglou were happy to engage with. That’s their prerogative, but it misses the point entirely.
This fan media thing isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s getting bigger and better. We have the data to back that up. The new interest from Australia alone since Ange Postecoglou was announced has been exciting and beneficial to us.
Every Celtic media project has big plans and big ideas for next season. As fans return to matches, and us with them, expect even better and more creative ways of covering this crazy football club. We’ll certainly be trying our best.
No one is going away anytime soon, whether labelled as embarrassing or not.