ESPN To Charge For Video Content, Have Sharapova Edit "The Mag"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sort of a combo post here because both tidbits are about ESPN, but both were interesting enough to warrant a spot on the site. First up is the news that the "Leader" will soon be charging for some of its video content that was once free to visitors of the website. Via Mediapost....

Over the past several years, ESPN has moved aggressively in making full episodes of its popular debate shows "PTI" and "Around the Horn" widely available on the Internet. First, the shows were carried on (which is free, but in only 24 million homes). Then, they were moved to, available to everyone for nothing.

No more. Now, in order to view the duo on, a person must be what's called an ESPN Insider and pay a fee ($6.95 a month, $39.95 a year).

ESPN is also looking at curtailing access to some of the live events it provides at no cost on it offers a wealth of high-profile simulcasts of games seen on its networks. Here again, the programmer has been ambitious in expanding its offerings, which include NBA playoff games; Duke vs. North Carolina and other top college basketball games; SEC football; and starting last summer, Major League Baseball.
I had always wondered why they put so much time and effort into a free service, but their video content had gotten so good over the last few years, I wasn't about to complain. It stinks for fans of those shows and that content, but it certainly makes good business sense.

As far as our second little item, it seems as if ESPN the Mag will be letting Maria Sharapova run things for an issue. Every so often, the Mag will grab an athlete to edit its pages for an issue (Chad Johnson, Matt Leinart), and the Tennis star will be the next one to do so. According to Deadspin though, they are having some issues finding Ms. Sharapova assignments....

Maria Sharapova is going to be the "Editor-in-Chief" of our Athletes Issue. She accepted this responsibility with great enthusiasm and would like, for an issue, to focus her efforts for the Magazine toward revamping the fashion-sense of America's favorite athletes. She has two ideas:

-The make-over. She wants to redo the style of LeBron (even though he only wears Ralph Lauren's premium label), Carmelo Anthony, Reggie Bush etc.
-The Best Dressed/Worst Dressed list. It's debut in our pages.

Why am I going on about this? Because we need to come up with some other things she can do in addition (or in place of) the above. Ideally, some of you have ideas that put to use her interest in style and applies it to our pages. I'd love to hear any and all thoughts on the matter. There are no stupid ideas. Please take a few minutes and ask yourself "If Maria Sharapova were my boss for a day, how could she make the magazine better?" And then send me what you come up with. By Wednesday, please.
I think when you say "there are no stupid ideas", you're pretty much setting yourself up for some stupid ideas. Hopefully they don't embarrass her too much. Good times at the "Leader"!

No Free Ride: ESPN Charges For Some Web Shows (Media Post)
ESPN Mag To Get a Sharapova-cized Makeover (Deadspin)


The paid video content is a dumb model and wreaks of something that was born from people who don't fully understand the power of the Internet.

ESPN should be following the major networks and making their content free to the user (see: CBS on Youtube, NBC/FOX on Hulu) but incorporating short snippets of paid advertising. They'd make more money, reach more people, and keep the consumer happier this way. Wins for everyone.

dwhit said...
Nov 24, 2008, 6:27:00 PM  

They're doing this instead of covering the football game that broke dozens of records this past weekend including 5 NCAA records?

NCAA Division II Playoffs (2nd Round):
Abilene Christian 93, West Texas A&M 68

Great job, "Leader"!

Anonymous said...
Nov 24, 2008, 6:33:00 PM

Anonymous said...
Nov 24, 2008, 6:34:00 PM  

They already do this. Don't you notice the 30 second ad that automatically plays on every page for a game recap? They always run paid ads before highlights. That's why I can't go to unless I turn off my speakers first.

alex said...
Nov 24, 2008, 10:28:00 PM  

You get Insider free when you subscribe to the magazine, which is being given out everywhere except in boxes of Frosted Flakes nowadays.

Mats Lematos said...
Nov 25, 2008, 12:47:00 AM  

I guess every page of the magazine will likely feature pictures of Maria's dog, likely taken with a Canon camera.

odessasteps said...
Nov 25, 2008, 12:38:00 PM  

If ESPN doesn't force college football's hand and create a playoff, its general perception will deteriorate. Nevertheless, the holy trinity of Tirico, Jaworksi and Tafoya will always be strong while Scott Van Pelt and Lisa Salters are good as well.

Brad James said...
Nov 26, 2008, 1:36:00 PM  

Wait, they want to start charging users for some of the ESPN360 stuff?

Well that's funny, because ESPN360 is only available to users of certain ISP's, because those ISP's already pay ESPN for the right to offer their subscribers ESPN360.

What a crock.

Anonymous said...
Nov 29, 2008, 12:50:00 AM  

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