December 22, 2007

ISP subscribing to websites?

Today I was roaming around ESPN.com, checking out the bowl games and the Euro 2008 draw that I missed a while back. Then I see an ad to watch some UEFA Champion's League games online at ESPN360.com. I very rarely click on web ads (in fact I don't often see them), but this one got me...plus I had made a mental note to check the website out after I saw those fanhood commercials. Since I absolutely LOOOOOOVE the UEFA Champion's League, I checked it out.

Once I opened up the site, I see that I can watch all of the Champion's League games (Sweet!), plus the Euro 2008 draw (Bonus!). Needless to say, I am ready to "START WATCHING NOW!"


So, I enter my zip code, and here is what I get:



What the crap!?!?!?!? Since when do ISPs need to "carry" a website? And who the hell at ESPN thought up this idea? Could they really not branch out from the cable television world to figure out how to make this site profitable without subscriptions? Even then, why put it on the ISP and not the user?

This "website business model" is a horrible choice, because John Q. User may not ever be able to access this site, even if he wants to (or is willing to pay for it). And even if it is possible, it may require this user to make some significant changes (i.e. change ISPs). This is the similar situation that the NFL Network is in now trying to get all cable companies to carry their network. The only difference being, is that NFL Network has no other avenue to provide there television channel and they have to fight this subscription battle. I'm lost how this could be the best solution for this site.

Okay, frustration, disappointment, and venting is over with. I wonder if ESPN realized this is how their potential customers feel when they have to show this message because they chose a crappy business model for their site.

1 comment:

Chris Ammerman said...

If the wikipedia article is to be believed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESPN360) it sounds like ESPN is essentially attempting to expand the cable TV channel business plan into the internet. I.e., rather than only making money off the people who actually want to pay for your site, make money off of everyone who subscribes to the tier that your channel is on. Which is... stupid? insane? I don't know. Adjectives fail me.

I'm flabbergasted. There's a good adjective.