ESPN: The Worldwide Leader (Monopoly?) in Sports AKA The Michael Jordan of Sports News
The first place I go for information about my San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Dodgers, or LA Lakers (yes it is still too soon to speak of their playoff sweep) is ESPN. In my opinion, ESPN offers the best news on any subject sports-related. They dominate in the hiring of famous former athletes from every major sport and are able to crowdsource knowledge from a variety of highly-connected entities to provide them with the most colorful and informed journalistic insights.
ESPN was notified that customers “ration” their intake of sports coverage from their websites in order to avoid overage charges on mobile devices. In an effort to retain their loyal mobile customer base, ESPN is now seeking to subsidize this portion of their customers’ data-plans
“ESPN doesn’t want its 45 million (and counting) digital users to stop watching on their iPads because they’re afraid of overage charges now that most major carriers are moving to capped data plans. ‘It makes it a worry-free, guilty pleasure,’ says Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. (ESPN declined to comment.) “
Worry-free for those viewing the data, but should we be worried about the precedent it is setting?
If ESPN, a Disney owned entity, is able to incentivize viewers to use their mobile apps then what stops other private business from doing the same? As far as this relates to sports, I am willfully ignorant to the potential consequences because I would love to get some free mobile ESPN. However I would have to think twice if CNN or BBC was suddenly subsidizing my mobile-news intake thereby causing me to narrow the variety of sources in my newsfeed.
Other questions abound. If ESPN is able to grasp hold of viewers by providing this incentive, how would this affect advertising? …their competition? Can this contribute to the monopolization of information dissemination?