ESPN, Fox News, CNN, NBC Sports Network,... the list of sports and news cable entities living in the past goes on and on as if it were still 2004, not 2014.
The major headache for these sports and news networks are cord cutters — those who have abandoned getting video content via cable or satellite — whose numbers continue to grow. These sports and news networks remain fearful of selling the prized channels directly to customers ala cart because of the predictable blow back, and possible ban, by the cable and satellite providers.
Why is it I can access virtually any TV show or movie using Netflix, Apple TV or Hulu, but when it comes to live sports and news I first must validate that I have purchased a particular cable or satellite package? This thinking is so old school, and is causing users to flee this antiquated model of getting video content, not embrace it, as costs for these services continue to soar.
Wake up sports and news networks. We don’t want 2-minute clips of old content on our mobile devices. That’s what YouTube provides. From you we expect live content on our mobile devices — and we shouldn’t first have to buy 200 channels we don’t want in our living room, in order to get the five channels we do want on any device, anywhere, any time.
Whichever sports or news network executive finally understands where video content distribution is headed and starts selling their content, ala carte, directly to the customer, that executive is going to get a big fat raise and corner office. Steve Jobs once said that Apple aims to where the “puck is going to be”, not where it is now. That is how the iPod, iPhone and iPad were so far ahead of their competition. Apple looked forward, instead of looking at what existed, making only incremental improvements.
However, today’s news and sports network executives are trying to hold to the old paradigm where they sell their content through big contracts to a few cable and satellite providers. Fortunately, those days are coming to an end. Whether the distribution is legal or not, people are finding ala carte internet solutions they want in droves and cutting the cords en mass.
History is repeating itself, again. The problem sports and news networks face is very similar to the pioneering days of digital music, where customers no longer wanted music on physical media but record company executives didn’t know how to let go of the past and embrace the future. That’s where Apple’s iTunes solution saved the day, by selling individual songs at a reasonable price instead of forcing users to buy an entire album or steal the music online. It gave customers an affordable and legitimate way to buy only the music they wanted and revolutionized the music industry, saving it from all out collapse. Now Apple is about to spring into action and drop a digital video solution into consumers hands that just makes sense.
Like with the digital music music transformation, Apple has the hardware, software, and brand ability to bring ala carte news and sports networks to market. This will take TV content to a whole new level and save the industry before it dies on a vine. The only question remaining is which network executive will see the vision, get onboard with Apple and let them do what they do best —lead.
Wake up Mr. Sports and News Executive. Times are quickly changing and he who looks ahead can reap big rewards. Embrace the future, for it is here now.
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