Microsoft, AOL Discover That The Internet Isn't TV

from the well,-look-at-that dept

While some in the media and tech worlds are trying to turn the internet into television so they’d have more control, it appears that Microsoft and AOL are finally realizing that the two act quite differently. While both companies should have realized this years ago, it only cost them a few million dollars each to realize that there’s absolutely no benefit to signing deals with Major League Baseball to allow MLB content to be streamed on their sites. Apparently both have cut short multi-million deals with MLB Online after realizing that most people simply went straight to the site anyway, and there was almost no benefit at all to paying millions of dollars to have the identical content hosted within their own gardens since surfers don’t distinguish. They know they can go wherever they want online, so why would they look for MLB content on AOL or MSN rather than just going straight to MLB? Apparently ESPN (owned by Disney) hasn’t realized this, because they’re about to make the same mistake and shell out millions to MLB for the privilege of mirroring the same content. Meanwhile, AOL is recognizing that their money and effort is better spent building up baseball fantasy league offerings where users actually participate, communicate and interact with each other (what the internet is good for!). Of course, what’s unclear is whether or not the folks at (the same people who said they owned all data and facts associated with MLB games) realize this, because if this sort of cash is part of their expected revenues going forward, someone may want to inform their potential investors of trouble ahead.

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Comments on “Microsoft, AOL Discover That The Internet Isn't TV”

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Jeff says:

Re: How long will major league sports last?

Step down off your high horse buddy. I love baseball. Its the true geek sport of sports. Just look at the stats. You obviously either you think its cool to not like sports or you only like football because you can’t sit still long enough to follow baseball.

I’m glad to see that lower class citizens can afford to go to baseball games. For a while there, I thought that ticket prices had gone up so much that only affluent people could attend games. Glad you cleared that up.

Mark says:


“Apparently ESPN (owned by Disney) hasn’t realized this, because they’re about to make the same mistake and shell out millions to MLB for the privilege of mirroring the same content.”

Actually it should work differently for ESPN. Most sports fans start at ESPN and then go elsewhere for more specific data. Housing MLB data on ESPN just keeps surfers from leaving ESPN for

JazzCrazed (user link) says:

exclusive, not mirror

Obviously, this kind of deal, as it is with all forms of media, only makes sense if the providers in question get exclusive content, rather than simply mirroring existing content.

And from reading the article, that seems to be the case, since the deals reported on involve “exclusive sports programming rights,” “exclusive distribution rights,” and “exclusive content arrangements.”

This would suggest (if not confirm) that the content to which MS and AOL were licensed would exclusively be broadcast on their respective sites, and not also on the MLB site. The only mirrors they had to worry about were the broadcasts over radio and TV.

From what the article says, it seems more as if video/audio content just wasn’t appetizing to MS and AOL anymore – not that they were losing viewers to mirrors of their exclusive content.

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