Is MLB.com The Next YouTube?

from the did-someone-say-.com? dept

With online video being so hot this year, one company that's getting attention is MLB Advanced Media, better known as MLB.com, the official site of Major League Baseball. The league's done far more to use the internet than have the other major sports, and it boasts an impressive number of users who pay for live streaming of games and stats packages. It claims to have revenue of $195 million in the last year, and its success can be attributed to a combination of an early start and a good job identifying what consumers want. A few years ago, there was some discussion of taking the company public, and with the big money showered on YouTube, there seems to be renewed interest in it. The league believes the property could be worth close to $5 billion. But this number seems based on the same kind of relative thinking that prompted one analyst to value MySpace between $10-$20 billion. Other than the fact that they both stream video, MLB.com is nothing like YouTube. YouTube offers a fresh way of consuming and sharing video, whereas MLB.com simply tries to replicate the TV experience over the computer. That may work fine for now, but it's going to keep having battles like the one against Sling as people seek to consume the content in different ways. For the site to thrive, it can't get comfortable with its early success; it needs to keep experimenting and trying new things, just as it did when it first launched.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Brian Dauernheim, Oct 26th, 2006 @ 10:18am

    Another difference

    Another key difference between MLB and YouTube: MLB has actual revenue and a decent business plan.
    I agree that $5 billion is a gross overestimate of MLB's value, but I thought the same about YouTube.

     

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    Mike, Oct 26th, 2006 @ 10:19am

    k

     

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    kdog, Oct 26th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    ?

    Whats a youtube

     

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    YES, Oct 26th, 2006 @ 11:07am

    ill sell you MYTUBE!

     

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    Mike, Oct 26th, 2006 @ 1:15pm

    maybe

     

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    satan, Oct 27th, 2006 @ 12:05am

    Well

    The internet IS a series of tubes.

     

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    Jope, Oct 27th, 2006 @ 1:02am

    The appeal of MLB is very limited...

    To the US, Canada and Japan... MLB.com would have a very tought time having any meaningul audience anywhere else. I'm not saying it's not huge, I'm saying it will always be smaller that YouTube's.

    While the comparison may be valid for the US, for the rest of the world it's comparing apples and oranges...

     

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    Michael, Oct 27th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Not trying to replicate TV

    The MLB.TV market is limited to big baseball fans, but the idea that it is just trying to replicate TV is off base. The key difference is it allows someone to watch ALL games, where TV only shows specific games. This is a big difference for people following their team where geography doesn't allow (Red Sox fans not in Boston, etc.). I don't know how big this market is, but whose only current competition is expensive cable/satellite annual subscriptions and NOT Slingbox or TV. Given the huge contractual limitations of local and national TV deals, I don't see regular TV being able to compete with MLB.TV at all.

     

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    Chris K, Oct 27th, 2006 @ 11:08am

    Another difference

    Youtube caters to its fans - that's why it's popular with them. There was a story arc on consumerist.com a while back about just trying to cancel your MLB.com subscription. I'm sure that if it gets more popular, it'll bring on a negative feedback loop about the same problem.

     

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    Alex, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Audience

    They are two totally different audiences, MLB.com is really targeted towards one audience, while youtube is open to just about anything.

     

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