Why Exclusive Mobile Content Deals Don't Make Sense
from the pointless-loopholes dept
Yesterday we saw the news that Sprint had signed an "exclusive" deal with the NFL. It's really a sponsorship deal, where Sprint will sponsor the NFL. However, as part of the deal, Sprint will supposedly get "exclusive" content that can be sent to Sprint subscriber mobile phones. It's understandable why mobile operators do these types of deals. The basic calculus is having exclusive content will make their service more attractive -- but, honestly, how many people decide who their mobile operator will be based on what content it provides? Instead, it's much more likely that users pick based on what kind of coverage, what types of service plans there are and what kind of phones work on a particular operator's network. So, really, all this has done is cut off a lot of football fans who really have no interest in switching to Sprint for reasons that have nothing to do with the NFL content on the phones. However, to make this even more bizarre, today came the news that Verizon Wireless was gearing up for the football season by signing sponsorship deals directly with 13 different NFL teams. In other words, to get around the NFL "exclusive" deal, Verizon Wireless simply went directly to teams. Now, they'll have some of their own exclusive content to offer mobile subscribers -- but once again, it's unlikely to impact who chooses what service. So, these football teams are really cutting off fans by doing these types of deals. Angering fans isn't such a smart idea. Subscribers are likely to start wondering why their internet service provider lets them access any content, while their mobile operator locks them in to specific content and locks out others from that same content -- even if they're willing to pay for it. These types of deals, therefore, basically hurt everyone. Fans get less content, the NFL has fewer fans able to pay attention to the content and the mobile operators upset users who start wondering why these operators are limiting them. It's not as if mobile data users don't have the internet to compare these offerings to, and it's just going to make them wonder why their mobile operators can't offer a similar service to the open internet they're used to.