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Thread: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jackstuef/in...h-startup-that

    Glass walls abound in the four sprawling fours of offices, housed in New York City’s Chelsea Market, the site of a former Nabisco factory in Manhattan. Banks of cubicles with an army of twentysomething video editors and game loggers prepare highlights and information for MLB’s Web properties and apps. A huge, unnecessary metal dome sitting in the middle of one floor seems to serve as a conference room. Despite the baseball artwork on the walls and the company softball trophies in the reception area, there’s no mistaking it: This isn’t a sports company. This is a tech company.
    This is a good read on MLBAM -- which, if you aren't familiar, does a lot more than just baseball. MLBAM took in an estimated $500m in revenue last year alone (a pot that is shared equally by all 30 teams), and they're constantly looking to expand what they offer.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    MLBAM is the absolute best at what they do. Without question. They are also incredibly fan friendly.

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    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Great article that really articulates where new media is going and how quickly it is all happening.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Can't be happening.

    The game is dying!

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Can't be happening.

    The game is dying!
    There's a very real argument to be made that the game is in better position to be succeed long-term, financially, than any other sports league on the planet.
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    MLBAM does really great work. MLBAM's MLB AT Bat app is I think the best app ever developed. It is so far and away above anything any other professional sports league has.

    As good as the work they do is the only thing that holds them back is MLB still using the old blackout rules. For a league that can be forward thinking in the things MLBAM develops it is shame that some things like blackout rules as so stuck in the past.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    IMO, the writer willfully ignores the most ominous issue, due to wishful thinking. The entrenched presence of those hugely lucrative, long-term deals with RSNs are what is going to prevent MLB.TV from moving beyond blackouts and distributing games to all comers via streaming. The very reason those deals are lucrative is because of the per-subscriber revenue stream from cable and satellite subscribers within the teams' territories. It's money that is baked into what you pay for "basic cable" or the "base package" with your satellite provider. It's money that is paid by everyone from diehard fans to grandmas who only subscribe to cable to watch "The Barefoot Contessa" and hipsters who only got cable for "Mad Men," "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad." That revenue stream won't simply disappear because fans and cord cutters dislike it intensely. There's too much money involved.

    Readers will come away from this read thinking that a future free of blackouts is right around the corner when it isn't. It isn't at all. Those 20-year deals with RSNs are like a pair of shackles, anchoring the team to 2 decades of blackouts.
    Last edited by Unassisted; 11-01-2012 at 12:50 PM. Reason: added more due to afterthoughts
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    IMO, the writer willfully ignores the most ominous issue, due to wishful thinking. The entrenched presence of those hugely lucrative, long-term deals with RSNs are what is going to prevent MLB.TV from moving beyond blackouts and distributing games to all comers via streaming. The very reason those deals are lucrative is because of the per-subscriber revenue stream from cable and satellite subscribers within the teams' territories. It's money that is baked into what you pay for "basic cable" or the "base package" with your satellite provider. It's money that is paid by everyone from diehard fans to grandmas who only subscribe to cable to watch "The Barefoot Contessa" and hipsters who only got cable for "Mad Men," "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad." That revenue stream won't simply disappear because fans and cord cutters dislike it intensely. There's too much money involved.

    Readers will come away from this read thinking that a future free of blackouts is right around the corner when it isn't. It isn't at all. Those 20-year deals with RSNs are like a pair of shackles, anchoring the team to 2 decades of blackouts.
    You're missing something too, though. There is a consensus in the industry that eventually we'll wind up with a la carte programming. Once that happens, the leverage RSNs have will be diminished a bit and arguably the contracts with RSNs might suffer. If a la carte programming happens, it will especially make sense to bundle the product together online because right now TV networks profit by forcing bundles on cable operators, and in turn are able to pay more for rights fees. There is a point when consumers will stop paying for cable packages once it gets too bloated. Once that happens, there will be a big push in the industry to ditch the current model. Some have even speculated congress and the FCC will get involved and legislate it. Who knows... but it will happen at some point.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    You're missing something too, though. There is a consensus in the industry that eventually we'll wind up with a la carte programming. Once that happens, the leverage RSNs have will be diminished a bit and arguably the contracts with RSNs might suffer. If a la carte programming happens, it will especially make sense to bundle the product together online because right now TV networks profit by forcing bundles on cable operators, and in turn are able to pay more for rights fees. There is a point when consumers will stop paying for cable packages once it gets too bloated. Once that happens, there will be a big push in the industry to ditch the current model. Some have even speculated congress and the FCC will get involved and legislate it. Who knows... but it will happen at some point.
    Sports is literally the only reason I have cable right now. Between Netflix, Hulu Plus, Computers that can be hooked up to an antenna and record local TV, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Vimeo and a few other places, I could easily get by Cable if I weren't locked into sports. If I didn't live in the Cincinnati area, I probably wouldn't have cable because I would just buy MLB.tv and package it with some of the above options for my programming needs. For the non-sports fan, they can truly get away from cable pretty easily and still get HD programming directly onto their TV.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Sports is literally the only reason I have cable right now. Between Netflix, Hulu Plus, Computers that can be hooked up to an antenna and record local TV, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Vimeo and a few other places, I could easily get by Cable if I weren't locked into sports. If I didn't live in the Cincinnati area, I probably wouldn't have cable because I would just buy MLB.tv and package it with some of the above options for my programming needs. For the non-sports fan, they can truly get away from cable pretty easily and still get HD programming directly onto their TV.
    Agree with doug here. In fact, I've streamlined my cable deals because I really don't watch anything else on TV besides sports and AMC (Walking Dead and Breaking Bad are a win). Since TLC no longer allows you to lean anything anymore and the History Channel is nothing more than Aliens and pawn stars, my TV habbits have changed drastically over the years.
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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    You're missing something too, though. There is a consensus in the industry that eventually we'll wind up with a la carte programming.
    I've never heard that any forces within the industry, other than OTT providers like Netflix, are pushing for that. Netflix's competitors like HBO are pushing back just as hard to keep the status quo.

    Considering the huge impact on revenue that eliminating blackouts and RSN basic-carriage provisions would have, I could easily picture Bud Selig testifying before Congress against a la carte delivery. Bud's signature accomplishment is the billions of dollars in revenue that now flows into MLB, mostly from media contracts. He publicly pleads ignorance about the blackout rules, But I'm certain he knows full well that RSN revenue can't be replaced in-market with OTT delivery.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    I've never heard that any forces within the industry, other than OTT providers like Netflix, are pushing for that. Netflix's competitors like HBO are pushing back just as hard to keep the status quo.

    Considering the huge impact on revenue that eliminating blackouts and RSN basic-carriage provisions would have, I could easily picture Bud Selig testifying before Congress against a la carte delivery. Bud's signature accomplishment is the billions of dollars in revenue that now flows into MLB, mostly from media contracts. He publicly pleads ignorance about the blackout rules, But I'm certain he knows full well that RSN revenue can't be replaced in-market with OTT delivery.
    A lot of operators would love to go to a la carte programming. They're tired of Disney, Viacom and other companies shoving low-rated channels down their throats in bundles, forcing them to pay 20-50 cents per subscriber per month when very few people want to watch these secondary networks.

    When Time Warner deals with Disney, it's not just paying market value for Disney, ESPN and ESPN2. It's being forced to take on ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN News, Disney XD, etc. These networks bundle all of their channels and force up the rates paid through subscriber fees or else they threaten to yank all their channels off the air.

    So what's happening is the rates are in turn jacked up on the consumers. Eventually, consumers will stop paying the money and everyone in the industry, to a man, knows that and admits it. When that happens, everyone expects some form of a la carte. But for now, they're trying to milk the system as long as they can before it crumbles.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

  13. #13
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Thanks CE. That was a good read. Really makes me curious what the Reds TV deal is going to bring in. Could be monsterous.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

  14. #14
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    Thanks CE. That was a good read. Really makes me curious what the Reds TV deal is going to bring in. Could be monsterous.
    Doubtful. The Reds tv market is quite small. I am sure it will be quite stronger than their current one, but it will still be small among baseball.

  15. #15
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: MLB Advanced Media & The Future of Broadcast Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Doubtful. The Reds tv market is quite small. I am sure it will be quite stronger than their current one, but it will still be small among baseball.
    From what I've seen, their market isn't small. There was a color-coded map posted here a while back and the Reds area was surprisingly large.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG


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