Monday, December 10, 2007

How did we get here?

Like many football fans, I was recently up in arms over the current feud between big cable and the NFL Network, which prevented me from watching Packers-Cowboys in the comfort of my own home (and will similarly prevent me from watching Pats-Giants on Dec. 29). But then I read this article by the Sports Guy, and realized that this is nothing new. I've always been annoyed that I can't watch any and every NFL game that I want to each week. Well, I could if I had DirecTV and was willing to pay for Sunday Ticket, but I don't and I'm not. That being said, there's a larger issue here that needs to be addressed. It's hinted at in this article about the Packers-Cowboys game:
The league hoped to get 70 cents per customer per month from the cable carriers for distribution on their popular basic digital tier. If the NFL could sell its network to cable companies across the country, including Comcast and Time Warner's 38 million subscribers, the rate would generate more than $300 million in subscription fees annually. That would be before a single second of commercial time was sold.
So, the NFL Network wants to get paid by both advertisers and the cable carriers. No big surprise, that's just how it works. But if you stop and think about it for a minute, why should it work that way? It seems to me the revenue stream should be flowing in the other direction. Advertisers pay big bucks to networks that have the best ratings, but those networks (at least in this case) are only able to achieve high ratings thanks to the millions of viewers who are watching on cable. The way I see it, I should be getting paid to watch commercials. How do I make this happen?

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