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Kozoom shows billiards to the world

Posted by on November 6, 2011

Kozoom shows billiards to the world

© Didier Fioramonti
Xavier Carrer (right), talking about billiards, the past and the future of his company. ,,Kozoom is my life.''

The cameras register every carom, every movement of the player in detail and the Director is searching for the best shots. It’s the world of Kozoom, that has given three-cushion a new dimension. The big tournaments, such as the world championship, the World Cups, the Agipi Masters and the national championships are not just shown to a big audience on the Kozoom website, but also broadcasted by Eurosport or other television channels.
This is the story of Kozoom, the start, the current status and future ambitions.

The world of three-cushion first met Kozoom during the World Cup in Sluiskil and the Agipi Masters in Schiltigheim. Previously, the multimedia company located in Andernos near Bordeaux, and specialized in cue sports, was mainly active in France. In 1998, Xavier Carrer was the founder of Kozoom and later in the lead of a team that conquered the three cushion world with passion and ambition.

The team now travels around the world, from Lima in Peru, to Agipi in Schiltigheim, from Suwon in Korea to Hurghada in Egypt.
With the most professional cameras, its own OB Truck, and a team of employees dedicated to the game, Kozoom has become the largest player in this market. That's why the team can keep up with the global progression and development of three cushion. The averages of 2.000 will rise in the upcoming years to 2.500 and eventually even to 3.000. The future doesn’t look as shiny as often thought. The sport just requires more promotion and has to be presented around the world in a better way.

Xavier Carrer (born July 11, 1973 in  Guérande) is managing the Kozoom team with six full time employees and during the major live broadcasts, including the freelancers, more than ten people. The team covers tournaments, matches and competitions, all in the highest quality, for the website, the videos and TV productions. The ratings have risen spectacularly in recent years. The Agipi Masters 2011 final stages were seen by 4.5 million viewers on the second paneuropean Tv channel Eurosport2, including the replays. The website will soon reach 50.000 unique visitors from roundabout hundred different countries and 1 million page views per month.


Frits Bakker: Where was the idea for Kozoom born? Which ambitions did you have when the company expanded after some years?

Xavier Carrer: ,,After studying journalism, I left Paris to live in Toulouse. I competed in a lot of Classic Games competitions and passed some Pilot exams without really being convinced of what I would do later. I met my first partner Jean-Michel Fray, a good billiard player and also Professor of Physics, at a billiard club. He developed a very interesting 2D Carom Billiard simulator and I was convinced that we could create a nice PC Billiard game. A few weeks later, the company Kozoom Multimedia was created and we started to produce the video game Classic Billiard,  later published by Canal+. Three years later, we invested in the Internet part and built a Kozoom website. Jérôme Desroziers, who was my partner in those years, was our webmaster. Quick publishing of News and Results dedicated to the sport was a “small revolution” for billiard fans in France. When I look back now, it's even more amazing how it has evolved in ten years. In 2003, the creation of a second company Kozoom Production dedicated to the video was probably the best choice for the future when you see how video and internet were merged these last few years.''

FB: Before Kozoom, it wasn't really possible to watch Carom billiards on TV and broadcasting on national channels were sporadical.

XC: ,,We made our first production for Eurosport in 2005. Before that, the costs for organizers were too high to broadcast their event. Kozoom has invested a lot to be able to produce and record independently in the cheapest way tor TV. We have the experience, the knowledge and the equipment. The first broadcast for Eurosport was the European Cup final for national teams in Andernos With this first broadcasting, we have convinced Eurosport that we were able to make a good job and this was the start of a strong partnership. Six years later, Kozoom  made a big step forward again: we are now shooting images for thirty hours per year on television, most of them are broadcasted live and in HD!''

,,I want to emphasize that Bernard Baudoin, a businessman with a large supermarket in Andernos and above all a great billiard enthusiast, has been very important with regard to the development of Kozoom. Without the help of our Business angel, it would not be possible to invest in expensive cameras and other equipment. Without Bernard, Kozoom wouldn't exist anymore.''

FB: The World Cups in Sluiskil were a kind of international breakthrough. Kozoom was depening on the budget of the organizers in those years, who had to pay a large amount for the production.

XC: ,,We have grown to such an extent that the investment for the organization has become less. Kozoom can broadcast the World Cups and major championships if only the costs of the team (hotel, food and drinks) are paid for. We see it as a compensation for what we spend on the materials, the equipment and the personnel. The difference with five years ago is that we sell the television productions now, and that we have introduced the system of the Premium Pass holders (subscribers) on 1 September 2010. People who want to see the live coverage, the replays and interviews, pay a relatively small amount. That's a kind of guarantee for the continuity of Kozoom. The customer pays to enable Kozoom to cover the tournaments and to open the doors for the organizers and the online audience. More Premium Passes means more opportunities for the public. In my opinion it is a logical development. The package we offer, not only with the live coverage, but also the replays and interviews, is very extensive. For instance, those who missed the live broadcast can see the matches in the replays.''

,,We need the Premium Pass holders for our further development. I think we're on the right track and will continue to grow. But money is not the main motivation. We love our sport. I'm very lucky that I could bring a team of people together who all have their own expertise. Above all it's a very enthusiastic team. The misconception is that we make a lot of money. We are mainly involved to serve the sport and enable Kozoom to grow.''

FB: The challenge is to serve the market even further, to promote billiards and bring all major tournaments to the people around the world?

XC: ,,The partnership with the UMB has been a major step towards an international breakthrough, but we also need the federations to promote billiards. We have expanded our website: we started with a French version, then a Dutch and an English and now we also have a Korean, a Spanish and a German version. Six languages and partners around the world: who could foresee this all happened in an enormous pace. Billiards is a great family, the progression is incredible. Kozoom wants to play an increasingly important role in it. We have a shop with all the billiards related articles. The purchase of the truck, which we share with a company that directs music concerts, is one of the best investments we have made. It has opened the doors to Eurosport.''

FB: The challenge and the tension makes the job very exciting. Most of the time we travel from event to event.

XC: ,,We currently have two mobile teams that can work on different locations. In the beginning Kozoom consisted of mainly French people , now the Dutch play an important role as well.  We’re not only covering three cushion, we also try to pay attention to the classic game disciplines from time to time, because people ask for it. Currently, we’re negotiating the possibility to cover the European championship one cushion in Spain later this month.''
I'm not at home that much, that’s true At least half of my time I'm on the road with the team. For someone like me, who loves billiards and has such a wonderful team, it's more easy to accept. Kozoom hasn’t only become an important part of my life…Kozoom is my life!''



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My Comments

Hi Xavier and Frits

Kozoom is the BEST, what can happened for our sport in the last years. I think, it is also a big service to promote the sport. Every club and every player can be happy about this.
Xavier, Frits and also Gerard, you make a unbelievable job.

Many thanks for this.

PS: I know the situation 5 years ago. No tv, no puplic interesting, no chance to see korean player or something else, NO KOZOOM. That´s why i love it very much.

Markus Schönhoff

Message 1/8 - Publish at November 4, 2011 2:36 PM

Xavier thanks for share his experience and you dedication for the sport what all we love, thanks from Costa Rica .

Message 2/8 - Publish at November 4, 2011 3:21 PM

good to read
Thanks for your support Guys :)

Message 3/8 - Publish at November 4, 2011 8:39 PM

Any chance that you will stream the competition in Zundert at the end of December

Message 4/8 - Publish at November 9, 2011 2:49 PM

Most probably, this will be decided somewhere next week !!!!

Message 5/8 - Publish at November 14, 2011 10:33 PM

Do we know yet whether you will be streaming the Zundert competition

Message 6/8 - Publish at November 29, 2011 2:37 PM

John, we offered the organization we are willing to do so. We are waiting for confirmation. The outcome will be positive most probably but it still needs to be confirmed....Check our Live Agenda for updates the upcoming days !

Message 7/8 - Publish at November 29, 2011 8:08 PM

Frence nationals
According to the agenda you are streming the French 3-c competition for today and the next two days however I am unable to find any streaming or any annoucement on when you will stream it. Has this coverage been cancelled or changed?

Message 8/8 - Publish at December 2, 2011 6:23 PM

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