Friday, February 6, 2009

Epic Fail: ESPN Charging ISPs, Net-Non-Neutral

ESPN is sending a telegram through a phone line, as if the failure of AOL dial-up's 1990s and early 2000s business didn't clearly show that internet-provider-exclusive-content is pure failure.

If your ISP doesn't want to pay for you to watch ESPN360, there's nothing you can do about it, short of switching to a provider that pays for it... ESPN is doggedly pursuing the same strategy online that made it a success in the TV world: licensing pipes, not people.
Free Press' Ben Scott thinks the this new internet model will ultimately be bad for providers. 'My gut reaction is that it's a terrible business model,' says Scott. 'The beauty of the internet is that you put a piece of content on your server, and it's available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world that's connected to the internet. If you begin walling off your content and selling network operators [the right to distribute content], that defeats the whole idea of maximizing the exposure of your content.

(emphasis added, from Wired). This goes against the paradigm of the net, and tries to perpetuate the Broadcast and Cable TV model to a medium that is fundamentally different; the internet demands ubiquity of access. It would be better to charge customers directly since premium content is often monetized that way, and the audience accepts that reality.

The audience wants what they want where and when they want it. To ignore this is to ignore the audience.

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