Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bill Mays Lied or Vise Vice

Coercion being forced to act in a way counter to what you want by an external force is all too come a business tactic. A former Pepsi salesperson told stories punishing retailers that would not cooperate by helping local competition run Pepsi products at lower prices in an attempt to embarrass the uncooperative retailer. The plan was that the pressure would cause a change of heart and a realization that the Pepsi way was the right way.

Somewhat less aggressive, but still coercive, was (and maybe still is) the practice of General Mills that will coupon the hell out of a new product so consumers will flock to their local grocer demanding the latest variety of Cheerios. With retailer being forced to add the new product to appease customers.

Now the evil empire of sports is doing the same to push your local ISP to add ESPN360 to your cable service. Mimicking the cable model by getting a fixed payment per subscriber where Disney Sports gets one check for the ISP (saving the cost of selling the end user and collecting the fee) and hiding the cost. Some less aware people may think that ESPN360 is a free service as they do not see Disney as the reason that the bill went up rather that evil greed ISP raised the price echoing the increasing cost of cable television where the provider is blamed.

Two games this weekend demonstrate the coercion that ESPN is attempting Marshall at Virginia Tech and East Carolina at West Virginia. Please note that coercion need not be extreme and in fact slow steady pressure may be the most effective. Neither of these game are particularly ground breaking but then neither was allowed to be broadcast as regional games rather each were on ESPN360 only. With loyal Virginia Tech and West Virginia fans becoming use over the past several years of seeing their teams every week on television (cable or broadcast) emails and phone calls were made to ISP's urging them to add ESPN360. Visit look at each week for the web only games and ask why would ESPN forgo the regional television revenue if they are not looking at more money from a steady check for all the customers of every ISP whether they want to watch the CFL or not.

More reading on the subject:
Computers in Management: Case Study: ESPN new media
A nice college presentation in a Word document

ESPN's ISP discrimination shakes Net neutrality hornet's nest
For the nerdy techie college football fan.

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