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Bingo. MLB makes far more from FOX/ESPN than they would on their own as MLBtv because FOX/ESPN is paying a premium. The sports leagues don't want to be on their own. They're in the baseball business, not the TV business. These huge sports deals - most networks don't turn a profit from them.
Kind of related to the story: I wish I could pick and choose which programs and services my taxes supported.
And yet the MLB Network was created, and has taken over the pregame show production duties from FOX.
To supplement the FOX/ESPN/TBS coverage, not be the primary carrier. MLB cannot make nearly as much money off MLB Network/MLBTV as it can off FOX/ESPN/TBS.
Suggestion #1 would be to count the fees they charge the cable companies. ESPN isn't getting $5.00/subscriber (or more) because of SportsCenter.
I get to watch every Detroit Tigers game, any NBA playoff game I want, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Americans, and whatever other random stuff I flip to from time-to-time. I don't feel like I'm being ripped off.
Among other things - construction of the head ends, Network Operations Centers, and other infrastructure costs associated with creating a regional network from scratch are prohibitive.
That costs you a total of $250 for the year or $21/month. If you think its worth the extra $40 a month for the convenience, the ability to have GoT immediately, and the ability to flip through other shows, that's fine. But we did the math, and it was pretty clear we were paying too much.
2. When I recently explored this my internet cost would go up if I got it as a standalone product.
Call your internet provider and tell them you're thinking of jumping ship. After we "unbundled" we did that and ended up getting locked into a one year price at the same amount.
A la carte would seem to be feasible (and highly profitable) in the sense of "buy a package and then pay for an additional channel or two". Our younger children would greatly enjoy Sprout, but to get the channel would raise our monthly cost by $13. If it were $3-5 for one additional channel, we'd pay for it (as this is on the order of what we arguably pay for our local PBS station).
I am probably the furthest thing from a capitalist, but I feel the free market works extremely well in the modern, internet age, entertainment industry. I
This legislation will probably not pass. I think the reason it will not pass is that these companies will get less money if it passes
That, and Congress can't even seem to agree on a non-binding resolution that "Puppies are adorable."
MLB cannot make nearly as much money off MLB Network/MLBTV as it can off FOX/ESPN/TBS.
MLBtv (if you are not subject to a Tigers blackout) is $120 a year.
The complete current season of Mad Men is $26.
You can't get the current season of Game of Thrones - you'll have to wait about 6-8 months and it will run about $40.
The Americans current season is available at Hulu.com for $7/month of by itself at Amazon.com for $26.
A decent antenna to get OTA HD programming will run you $40.
A Roku to stream your shows to your TV will run you about $60.
That costs you a total of $350 for the year or $29/month. If you think its worth the extra $30 a month for the convenience, the ability to have GoT immediately, NBA Playoff games (I believe NBA League Pass does not make them available immediately, you have to wait 3 hours) and the ability to flip through other shows, that's fine. But we did the math, and it was pretty clear we were paying too much.
EDIT: Forgot some costs.
Much as I'm not a fan of cable and phone company monopolies and oligopolies, I can't say that the deal I'm getting would be high on my list of consumer complaints.
I pay like $60 a month for cable. Just one TV, one DVR. For this I get to watch every Detroit Tigers game, any NBA playoff game I want, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Americans, and whatever other random stuff I flip to from time-to-time. I don't feel like I'm being ripped off. If it went up a bit (and it will, we'll see how good I am at haggling next time), then I still will feel like it is a fair deal.
Eight months of the year, I pay $199 for a Fios bundle that includes high speed internet, a land line with unlimited long distance calling, a cell phone with no limits that I'd ever exceed, and a Fios Premium TV package that gives me the clearest picture I've ever have and will ever need. For the other four months, I add $45 for the Extra Innings package. And with a DVD recorder I make it all back in what I save on DVD costs.
When you put it that way, I'm starting to wonder if the rights fees MLB is charging are high enough!
ESPN right now is trying to take a huge share of the package cost. At some point, cable/satellite aggregation (as it currently exists) isn't going to be worth it. ESPN's aggregation will still be useful to customers, and as such will still be useful to MLB. But think about it this way: a cable company could put in its basic package both MLB Network and NFL Network, and various RSNs, instead of ESPN. How many people would take that package?
Yes. That's an excellent point and is something I was thinking about when considering an individual channel itself as a content aggregation. In the end, you might actually desire increasingly specialized and homogenous channels (exactly as you suggest with regard to choosing to subscribe to MLB + NFL network instead of ESPN).
And that's with an a la carte model. I'm actually thinking of an alternate scenario now.
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