Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Watching the Big Ten Network Crash and Burn

Seems the Big Ten is joining the NFL in learning that there are limits to how far you can push your premiere product to drive revenue. The NFL Network is still struggling for placement on cable systems, as cable providers resist paying over $8 a year for each subscriber. Now, the Big Ten conference is now adding the University of Hard Knocks as cable companies thumb their noses at their new TV network. The lack of progress in getting the Big Ten Network on cable systems have led Weasel fans to turn to Congress to look into the situation.

Seems the Big 10 has an even grander view of themselves than the NFL, as the Big Ten Network intends to charge cable companies (and therefore, you) $1.10 a month if you live in Big Ten territory. That's over $13 a year. And like the NFL, they insist that this be on basic cable so that all customers have to pay, not just sports fans. Big Ten commissioner explains their position:
"Millions of Big Ten fans who already pay their basic cable bill would expect this to be included. If they choose to put it on a sports tier -- I call that a tax."
Oh, and where will the cable company get the $13 annual fee for each subscriber? Simple...raise rates. That's your tax right there.

I have no doubt that eventually the Big Ten Network can eventually be a success...but not with this business model. Battling with cable companies only means fans are losers. In the end, networks like the Big Ten's will struggle until cable companies find a way to increase capacity and go to ala-carte models to allow you to pick and choose your programming choices. Personally, I'd gladly trade off Lifetime, MTV, and Faux News for the NFL Network. But right now my cable company doesn't give me that option...and I don't see it happening anytime soon.

In the meantime...sports fans are the losers in this war.

1 comment:

TB said...

"Faux News"

Love it. I'm gonna use that one.