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Stadium and Main: BTN: Good news, bad news

Monday, June 18, 2007

BTN: Good news, bad news

This New York Times article is even more mainstream corroboration that the battle between the Big Ten Network and Comcast (along with other cable operators) is ON. As I began to read the article this morning, my heart started to sink, as I envisioned the money-grubbing CEOs depriving me of my inalienable right to watch Michigan Football. But then I saw this:
As for carrying the network in non-Big Ten markets at 10 cents a subscriber, [a Comcast executive] said Comcast would most likely make it available as a subscription service like Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings out-of-market package.

“They have a right to do as they wish,” [Big Ten Network President Mark] Silverman said.
Sounds fair to me. In fact, if the Big Ten Network is a virtual Pay-Per-View package (like ESPN GamePlan), I couldn't really complain. A la carte television is ideal for me. Let me purchase access to the channels I want, and then I won't have to pay for channels like SOAPnet (nevermind, they show re-runs of The O.C.). But you get the point.

So now the bad news... Despite that glimmer of light, Comcast is throwing down the proverbial gauntlet. In past articles, Comcast execs have tip-toed around the subject of adding the BTN. Mostly a bunch of "no comment" stuff. Now, they're saying things like "I have no doubt that the Big Ten will try to rile up their fans and alumni to say that big bad Comcast is denying their content to Big Ten fans and alumni." So, umm, that doesn't sound like they're expecting warm and fuzzy negotiations. Moreover, the Comcast crew pushes it back in the BTN's face, saying the Big Ten is "going against the consuming public."

As usual, this isn't going to be pretty. For a non-Midwesterner like me, that "non-Big Ten market" tidbit is a sign of hope. But there is still a long way to go, for all Big Ten fans.


Blogger LudaChristian said...

Don't go jogging with David Lighty!

I'm new to the Meechigan Blue-blogging scene -- Stop by!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Comcast really believed that consumers should pick and choose customers I wouldn't have to flip through the home shopping network for one. The fact is that the BTN will have a bigger fan base than many of the networks that Comcast picks up in basic cable. The bottom line is that the network will only serve to help the conference in terms of exposure and advertising.

4:19 PM  

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