K-State Sports & Beyond reports today that Big XII commissioner Keven Weiberg is quitting to join the Big 10 TV Network. Interesting move for both Weiberg and the Bigger 10 with all the recent changes to Big XII TV contracts as of late. In a radio interview today on KOZN-AM, Lee Barfknect talked about Weiberg's vision for individual school TV networks possibly being part of the reason why he's joining the Big Ten.
The more I think about it, we are on the cusp of another revolution in television and broadcasting. The number of specialty networks is exploding, with the NBA and NFL each having their own networks, and Major League Baseball planning to launch their own network. There's a Golf Channel and a Tennis Channel. Everywhere you turn around, somebody seems to be creating their own network. Meanwhile, cable networks are constrained in terms of capacity, especially as more and more networks go high definition. Even the Food Network is going HD!
Meanwhile, Congress is once again discussing options for ala-carte programming, allowing you to pick-and-choose what networks you pay for. How is this going to work out? I think you are going to see a convergence between television and the internet. A lot of people are all geeked up over the Apple Phone, but in my mind, the Apple Phone pales in comparision to Apple TV. Apple is already in discussion with major movie studios about renting videos through iTunes, which will make watching movies even easier than Netflix.
Take this to the next level - subscriptions like Netflix. Right now, Netflix bears the expense of mailing DVD's to your house. If you choose a popular title, sometimes you have to wait for your turn to get a copy of a new release. The iTunes model eliminates the physical inventory. Heck, you'll even be able to pre-order the movie, and on the day it's released, it'll automatically download to your TV.
What the heck does this have to do with sports? If you're a Husker fan anywhere in the country, you can order DVD's of football games to be delivered to your home days after each game. Imagine subscribing to the Husker network and getting these same games automatically fed to your TV via the internet. Already today you can watch baseball and volleyball games on your computer...it's not a large leap to use a device like this to get them on your TV.
In a few years, wondering whether your cable company carries Versus is going to be a moot point. You'll just point your TV towards Versus.com and wonder what all the fuss was about in the past...