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ESPN's Play To Make ISPs Pay

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the other-side-of-anti-net-neutrality dept.

The Almighty Buck 355

lochii sends us to Wired for reporting on ESPN's game plan to extract royalties from all ISPs, for a "license" for their users to view ESPN video. Currently, according to ESPN, 40% of US Internet users connect through ISPs who are paying the (undisclosed) fees; others are unable to view the content. Quoting: "This is a reversal of the model pushed by some major broadband companies that would like to charge content companies for the right to use their pipes. If other full-length video providers like Hulu and HBO get in on the act, the time could be approaching when you'll choose your Internet service based on what selection of content it offers. Eventually, popular non-video websites might follow suit. Imagine a future water cooler conversation over broadband choice: 'I went with Comcast 'cause they get Yahoo.'"

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I thought we already had this option... (5, Insightful)

Jason daHaus (1419459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752259)

and it was called AOL.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1, Flamebait)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752327)

And it is quickly dying... alas, the neanderthals who watch ESPN will probably follow precisely the line of thinking that was brought up above!

After all, they pay $$$$$$$$ through the nose to get the "weekend sports packages" to watch obsolete, corrupt, rigged games on TV.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752363)

*SIGH*

You know, the internet was SO much more fun before companies and money found a way to use it.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752429)

I just tested to see if my internet provider gives me access. This is the message I got:

How To Get ESPN360.com Close ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider. ESPN360.com is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases. Congratulations! Your internet service provider carries ESPN360.com. Just click on the WATCH NOW link or any event to start watching ESPN360.com.

(Emphasis: Mine)
This is one of the most chilling messages I've ever gotten on the internet. I hope never to read a message like that again. Your provider carries "google"??

Obivously ,it's leading to this: The real money maker:

We're sorry, your provider does not carry the XXX porn package, you cannot access any of these sites.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752605)

I just sent an e-mail to my ISPs customer service center thanking them for NOT being affiliated with ESPN360.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

taer (31134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752981)

I just sent an e-mail to my ISPs customer service center thanking them for NOT being affiliated with ESPN360.

Me too. Thanks Time Warner!

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Informative)

beckerist (985855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753225)

The banner is bright red:

ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider. ESPN360.com is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases.

Your current computer network falls outside of these categories. Here's how you can get access to ESPN360.com.

1. Switch to an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider or to contact your internet service provider and request ESPN360.com. Click here to enter your ZIP code and find out which providers in your area carry offer ESPN360.com

2. For Verizon Customers Only: Sign-in using remote access if you already get ESPN360.com

Re:I thought we already had this option... (3, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753287)

Nice to see Capitalism is continuing to make things more efficient, eliminate waste and allowing more people to have access to more stuff for less effort. Clearly, it's a great vehicle for generating wealth and plenty.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753399)

yea, fuck that. if they want a pay site, they should just charge for membership. otherwise, set up your own private network and get off the public internet.

i shouldn't have to worry about whether someone else's ISP "carries" a particular website when linking to a public webpage. this not only fragments the web, but it's an underhanded way of charging broadband subscribers extra for specific web content without their permission or knowledge. i don't have any interest in ESPN content, so why should i have to foot the bill for a subscription to a site that i will never visit?

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

LNX Systems Engineer (1443681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752615)

How To Get ESPN360.com Close ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider. ESPN360.com is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases. Your current computer network falls outside of these categories. Here's how you can get access to ESPN360.com. 1. Switch to an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider or to contact your internet service provider and request ESPN360.com. Click here to enter your ZIP code and find out which providers in your area carry offer ESPN360.com 2. For Verizon Customers Only: Sign-in using remote access if you already get ESPN360.com

That's what I see. Obama is on the record as being pro net neutrality. I wonder if he'll bind both the content providers and ISPs to net neutrality agreements.

I can only imagine ISPs having to hire entire departments just to handle all the content provider contracts. Certainly a less than ideal outcome.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (2, Interesting)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752669)

You know, my instinctive reaction was horror, anger, and disgust, but after thinking about it for few minutes, I realize this isn't that terrible. There are plenty of sites on the internet that only offer their content to paid subscribers. This one just happens to be subscribing large groups by having their ISP pay.

It does still suck, because ultimately any ISP that pays for this license is going to pass the cost on to their customers, including those that don't care about ESPN. While many are trying to force cable TV to go to ala carte pricing, here's a company trying to move the internet to a "package deal" system.

Ultimately, I think I would be okay with this if individual users could still subscribe to the site if their ISP hasn't, and if everyone had more than 2 choices of ISP. The first condition could probably be met, but the second is a tough one.

So yeah, I'm against this. But I'm downgrading my outrage from horror/anger/disgust to trepidation/irritation/distaste.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752791)

It is that terrible because it's an underhanded way to force everyone on the internet to pay them. This is fundamentally no different than the fee that the RIAA wants put into place on all internet users. They want you to pay whether you want the service or now (guilty or not). And they want you to think that you're getting it for free.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752949)

But it's voluntary. Why not just avoid going there or never voicing a want to your ISP?

Don't get me wrong, I think this is an outright stupid idea on ESPN's part. But I will voice my contempt for it by simply not participating. They want capitalism? They got it. I go elsewhere, buh bye.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753077)

This isn't "capitalism."

"Capitalism" would be letting individual people pay for an ESPN360 account, and then sign in to view the videos.

THIS is trying to get a "critical mass" such that every ISP pays some fee to ESPN for the "service" whether the individual person actually wants (or even has heard of) ESPN360 or not.

ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider.

Complete lies and bullshit. The user - whether they wanted to or not - was charged for the ESPN360 access when they paid their ISP. You think the ISP would do it "for free"??? If so, you're delusional.

Just think - if this model catches on, you'll be paying $200/month or more to your ISP for all the "free, affiliated content" you get. Of course, your only other option will be dialup, because in most cities one ISP has a local-government-granted monopoly AND we don't yet have equal-access provisions like we do for the phone lines.

Think about it - where you live right now, do you have a choice of ISP's? I either get Comcrap where I live, dialup, or nothing at all.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (2, Insightful)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753147)

But it's voluntary. Why not just avoid going there or never voicing a want to your ISP?

Because YOU will find your bill increased based on the drunken sportsmorons who WILL probably phone the ISP because they must have "sports" 24/7 injected directly into their veins or they will die of the realization of what sad, pathetic wastes of oxygen they really are.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (2, Interesting)

bsane (148894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753345)

Its only voluntary when you have broadband options. Most of the country- if they're lucky enough to get broadband can get it from only one provider. Broadband providers have colluded to avoid encroaching on each others territory- if each one is the sole provider they both win.

The closest thing to this situation was/is when local phone companies control your telephone line, but they were/are heavily regulated, whereas cable companies do whatever the hell they want.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753473)

But it is not voluntary... If your ISP decides to pay it, as all of my choices apparently do, then you pay. If you don't care for ESPN, as I don't, you are only doing them a favor by not using the bandwidth.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (3, Insightful)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753343)

Taking this to the logical conclusion really highlights the major issue with this business strategy.

What happens when every content provider wants to do this sort of scheme? After all, each company feels "My content is at least as valuable as his." It will completely and utterly destroy the internet as we know it. Rates will assuredly go up (and the US already has some of the highest in the world), content will be exclusive based on who your regional internet monopoly is, the web will become essentially filtered based on who the ISP likes.

So much for free exchange of knowledge/ideas.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753513)

This one just happens to be subscribing large groups by having their ISP pay.

It's a little more serious than that. This is an attempt by content providers to push the cable subscription model on to the internet where ISP's essentially become the cable operators and subscribe to sites before users can access them. Only I don't think it's going to work. Content providers would be cutting their own throats...not that I would mind seeing that happen to some of them. Their traffic would crater and it would open up opportunities for smaller providers to eat into their market.

This is ESPN trying to carve out a lofty niche for themselves and effectively tax everyone on an ISP's system whether they use the site or not. It's a lot cheaper to manage payment from one source than trying to sell to the world at large and the overhead that goes with it. So it's definitely good for ESPN. You...not so much.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

JonWan (456212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752877)

How To Get ESPN360.com

ESPN360.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider. ESPN360.com is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases.

Your current computer network falls outside of these categories. Here's how you can get access to ESPN360.com.

1. Switch to an ESPN360.com affiliated internet service provider or to contact your internet service provider and request ESPN360.com. Click here to enter your ZIP code and find out which providers in your area carry offer ESPN360.com

2. For Verizon Customers Only:
Sign-in using remote access if you already get ESPN360.com

All I have to do is switch to another service provider. :-)
How long before the remote Verizon access codes are available?

Re:I thought we already had this option... (2, Insightful)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753055)

tested from Italy: Sorry but ESPN360 is not currently available in your region.

that is, in small print dwarfed by all the security warning of non protected content on the page.

it seems all the old region coding scheme to me, "but on the internet", hey, I should get a patent on this.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753245)

hulu isn't available outside of the US, never has. Even though its country rather than ISP based... I think it is the biggest sign of the internet dying. Youtube as well doesn't allow certain videos to certain countries. Oh and I'm Canadian, not like... northkorean or anything. Corporations in their short sightedness will attempt to kill the internet. Maybe Firefox should come with a tool that tracks and rates each site for its openness. Or maybe this internet bubble will burst and everything will be temporarily free again. Reshuffling seemed to lead to new innovators last time as well.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (0, Offtopic)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753171)

I'm being modded "flamebait"???

Gee, what a wonder. Come off it, your average football/basketball game is as un-fixed as the outcome of Wrestlemania.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753295)

EXACTLY. For those unfamiliar, let me explain why:

AOL = What a non-neutral internet looks like. And it was why AOL died. AOL would partner with different companies, and those companies would provide content to AOL customers. Eventually, AOL couldn't keep up with the vast amount of content on the open internet, so they lost out. Prodigy and CompuServe used the same exact model.

It kinda made sense back before there were standard protocols like HTTP for providing content, and before it was possible to bill users for the content they viewed.

This is the worst-case scenario for a non-neutral internet. Every ISP that "partnered" with ESPN needs to cancel their deals, so that ESPN is forced to play the game the same way as everyone else.

Re:I thought we already had this option... (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753407)

Why could AOL not "keep up"? It's not like AOL members didnt have the same access to the internet as non-AOL internet users. People who used AOL had the regular internet PLUS exclusive AOL material.

I would blame their demise on regulation (An attempt to keep is "PG 13"), Price, and Poor customer service.

Error! (5, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752261)

Thats not how Internet work, and how we want internet to work.
Go fuck yourselves

Re:Error! (3, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752397)

Agreed.

This sounds like a TV version of the Internet, and I haven't watched TV in 2 years largely because of it's limitations.

Re:Error! (2, Informative)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752511)

It doesn't really matter if they do manage to pull a stunt like this - random joe sixpack, meet open proxy.

Re:Error! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753333)

First off a proxy will not help if you are being blocked by your ISP rather than the site. I'm pretty sure the list of proxy ISPs will make it near impossible to use a proxy within a week. Open proxies would be gone the day it released.

Commuters and travelers (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752283)

My business requires that I travel. On a slow week I use two different ISPs. In a busy week, a dozen. And we're not even talking about vacations yet.
If your site isn't available everywhere, I'll find something else. Nobody's content is that valuable.

Although, if I'm wrong and this business model does take off, the back side is even uglier: there will be ISPs that offer their services based on what you can't get. It will cater to employers, libraries, schools and other places that don't want people accessing certain sites.

Re:Commuters and travelers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752357)

Nobody's content is that valuable.

No one's? [google.com]

Re:Commuters and travelers (3, Interesting)

Daniel Weis (1209058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752621)

I was going to moderate you as insightful but... After thinking about it, NO ONE'S content, not even Google's, is worth it.

Re:Commuters and travelers (3, Insightful)

Lostlander (1219708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752667)

No no one's...

http://www.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]
http://www.msn.com/ [msn.com]
http://www.about.com/ [about.com]
http://www.ask.com/ [ask.com] br? etc

Re:Commuters and travelers (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753049)

I hope these are examples of stuff that I can find elsewhere because I haven't used any of those in years. In fact most of them suck pretty bad.

Re:Commuters and travelers (1)

Lostlander (1219708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753475)

The point is that no service is so valuable that people can't do without it there area always alternatives. And the fact that the other services are sub par is what spurred the creation and explosive growth of google in the first place.

While connections may be monopolistic themselves the internet is a place where easy and cheap trumps big name expensive all the time. It's generally very hard to get people to pay for what they used to (and if an alternative is available still can) get for free. Even in the product isn't quite as good as the pay version.

Re:Commuters and travelers (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753363)

Try using one of those over google for a week. You will be shocked.

Re:Commuters and travelers (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752717)

Nobody's content is that valuable.

Allow me to introduce my new site: googleeverywhere.com. The main server is in Russia someplace. It runs a botnet. The bots, of course, are running on the systems of clueless windows users.
You want google from anywhere in the world? Go to googleeverywhere, it passes the request on to a bot, which queries google, then passes the answer back.
Google can try to shut it down by sending a request to googleeverywhere and seeing where the request comes in, and then cutting of that IP address. But in doing that, google thereby shuts down access for users who have paid for the service through their IP.

Re:Commuters and travelers (2, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753007)

googleeverywhere.com doesn't work for me, I didn't upgrade to the "Russian Extras" package at my ISP. I only have basic internet.

Re:Commuters and travelers (1, Redundant)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752555)

The problem is, most of the sites that those groups would want to block are pay-by-user driven, and the pay-by-ISP model would probably not interest them. So the flipside is less likely.

That being said, I don't want to pay an ESPN tax, I don't watch ESPN, I check ESPNs website, at most ONCE a year, for the OSU vs. Michigan game score. They aren't worth $0.02 to me.

Really, I can check my local news for that, but ESPN happens to be the first I think of.

Re:Commuters and travelers (1, Funny)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753139)

Given the way the game has gone the last five years, you don't need to worry about the score. For that matter, given the rabid hatred that comes out of Columbus, you don't need to check the score either. Just mention that you're a Michigan fan and an OSU football fan will make damn sure you know it, and will remind you of it for weeks to come...

Wagon train. (3, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752295)

"lochii sends us to Wired for reporting on ESPN's game plan to extract royalties from all ISPs, for a "license" for their users to view ESPN video. "

And let's extend this to all the other content carried over broadband connections. See the problem now? Sheer bottom line will keep most ISPs from joining this bandwagon.

Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752297)

Freakin idiots. ESPN, a content producer, is using their weight to ruin the internet.

This is so bass ackwards to the way the internet works and will continue to work. My only hope is that this idea fails with gusto, so that it can be used as a warning shot to all others who think they can "OWN" the internet like they owned the captive audiences on cable TV.

TV is a dead business model, and they need to get on the bandwagon. Ever since I got Hulu on my Xbox, I've discovered how much I just don't care, and don't need, cable/satelite tv.

Net neutrality needs to specifically outlaw this sort of thing.

Locking down information on the net is exactly how to ruin the net.

All that being said, we'll just use a proxy and move on.

Re:Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752409)

Do you want it to fail or do you want it to be outlawed? Can't have it both ways...

Re:Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752411)

Many websites have pay membership. But I guess that's only evil if you offer ISPs a group deal.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752479)

I'm happy to subscribe to services that I see fit. Not choose a service based on what bundles I can get.

The upside to this, is of course, that smaller content producers can use this as an advantage- being accessible from ALL ISPs means more exposure. Maybe this will finally kill the giants!

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

Jbain (1453725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752781)

In addition to choosing services based on the bundles: I don't watch ESPN and I don't think I ever will and I'll be damned if my ISP isn't offloading the cost of that license to me regardless.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753431)

You can be indignant, but it doesn't mean anything unless 1) you are willing to drop your ISP because they are paying this fee, and 2) a critical mass of like minded users are willing to do the same.

Fortunately, I'm not sure this is nearly as bad as it seems. There are way too many websites to every site involved in these kinds of accounts. So, while some people may not be able to watch reruns of sports center, I think the important information will still find it's way to being available globally.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

malchus842 (741252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752427)

TV is a dead business model, and they need to get on the bandwagon.

You mean just like the RIAA and MPAA have understood that their industries are changing and are on the bandwagon?

There is a shakeout in process and the folks whose oxen are being gored are fighting tooth and nail to keep their failed business models alive.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752549)

You called it. ESPN's model is cable/satellite TV. They certainly like that model. It's worked brilliantly for years. And if they can wedge the internet into the same model, it's a win for them.

However, TV is not a dead business model. Dead to you, sure. Dead to Joe Sixpack and Sally Bag-o-donuts? No. Do you think your indignation counts for the masses of money-paying sheeples who have no problem with the cable model? No.

Scarily, this access licensing pattern can work, because it uses a mental model consumers of cable media are already familiar with: "Ask your provider to subscribe to ESPN.".

Net neutrality is important only if you think the internet is ifferent from other media. The people with the money consider the internet just another kind of tubes, like cable TV. And they want all the tubes to be treated the same way, from a content-control and access-control (money-control, really) perspective: a bunch of interchangeable tubes that allow the content producer to pipe the tripe into the brains of the content consumer.

Re:Net Neutrality (3, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752643)

Well the ISPs could band together and simply block ESPN, or simply charge ESPN for bandwidth corresponding to the dollar amount ESPN wants from the ISPs.

Actually that is something that is very different with the internet, with regards to Cable/Satellite. In the former if its connected you have access, whereas in the latter your provider has to get explicit permission. I would rather switch news source than have to put up with having to pay ESPN.

Re:Net Neutrality (5, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752601)

The Internet has officially been ruined. I thought AOL was bad. This is ridiculous. Now if only their was a way for us to senD Over a meSsage about how we feel...

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752695)

AOL was and *still is* bad, and will be bad until it dies a much needed and long overdue death.

Re:Net Neutrality (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752925)

Net neutrality needs to specifically outlaw this sort of thing.

Does it? A provider should be able to deliver their content where and when they choose. As a customer, you have a choice. Do you buy media from people who pull these bullshit strongarm tactics or not? If you think what they are doing is wrong, then you have a choice; give up consuming their media, or admit that you have no conviction.

On the other hand, as a consumer it's hard to know who's sucking off who in the back room, so I would argue that government's place here is to ensure transparency; you have a right to know where the dollars you are spending on utility services are going. The internet is today as critical as any other service, because it is now virtually the only way to get accurate information. (Unless you are lucky enough to have some pirate radio in your area or something.) Cutting you off from the phone cuts you off from emergency services, but cutting you off from the internet cuts you off from freedom. Melodramatic? Perhaps. But knowledge truly is power.

With that said, nobody needs ESPN.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753127)

Does it? A provider should be able to deliver their content where and when they choose. As a customer, you have a choice. Do you buy media from people who pull these bullshit strongarm tactics or not? If you think what they are doing is wrong, then you have a choice; give up consuming their media, or admit that you have no conviction.

Actually, I don't have a choice. Thanks to America's tax dollars going to work to create an infrastructure with legislated monopolies, I have exactly two options for internet: Cable or DSL. Two companies. Both bad. Comcast or Verizon. You choose.

So, yes, it should be legislated. It's a network for the people, paid for by the people, and the companies running the show were given exclusive deals to keep it running. That exclusivity should come with a responsibility to stay neutral.

In a free market, I'd agree with you. But that's simply not the case here.

Re:Net Neutrality (5, Interesting)

UnTdWrLdGv (575395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753141)

TV is a dead business model, and they need to get on the bandwagon. Ever since I got Hulu on my Xbox, I've discovered how much I just don't care, and don't need, cable/satelite tv.

Does Hulu offer 5.1 Dolby Digital and 720p or better resolution with ZERO commercials and live sports? Once I can get that quickly and easily on the net without having to wait for someone to upload a torrent and then wait again for it to download AND live sports, I will be done with cable/satellite. But until that day I will bite the bullet and over pay because of the quality and convenience. I hate my cable company, but as a sports fan and an A/V nut, I'm stuck with them for now.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753263)

You don't have commercials on your cable system...no commercials at all?

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753459)

TV is a dead business model, and they need to get on the bandwagon. Ever since I got Hulu on my Xbox, I've discovered how much I just don't care, and don't need, cable/satelite tv.

Yeah, ever since I started watching region-restricted, DRMd, non-downloadable content with mandatory ads I also realized how much I just don't care, and don't need that other region-restricted, DRMd, non-downloadable content with mandatory advertisements.

I'll start my own internet... (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752343)

...with booze, and hookers!

Re:I'll start my own internet... (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752523)

Actually, forget the internet!

make people who want the content pay... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752373)

so let me get this right, because I dont give a F#%K about ESPN, never gone there in my life and never plan too, I have to pay because they want to shake down my ISP for money?

Its bad enough on Cable... (4, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752379)

Its bad enough that I have to pay the freaking ESPN Tax added onto my cable bill when I don't even want it. Many I know are fleeing cable so they DO NOT have to pay for things like this.

Re:Its bad enough on Cable... (1)

jimwelch (309748) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752579)

Can I get Dish/Direct without ESPN?

Re:Its bad enough on Cable... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752973)

Many I know are fleeing cable so they DO NOT have to pay for things like this.

And why not? You can watch many if not most popular shows on the web, DVD sales are where the real money is so they release as soon as they can and you can get them from netflix or sometimes even stream them from them, and on the shady side you can get pretty much anything via torrent. Of course, cable internet customers are having problems there these days... But the point remains, there is little reason for anyone who can get cable to actually get television over it, if they can get internet access - unless they actually watch sports or something.

The problem is that ISPs are often monopolies (3, Insightful)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752415)

If everyone could choose between hundreds of ISPs, this would be fine. But that's not the case; most people have only a very few rational options for ISPs (if you want reasonable bandwidth), i.e., monopolies, duopolies, etc. This is absurdly monopolistic.

Re:The problem is that ISPs are often monopolies (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752505)

I agree- there should be antitrust regulation against this, as the consumer has no choice. Content producers should be unable to make deals with the tax-money-created monopolies that exist. This is why people are pushing for net neutrality.

Re:The problem is that ISPs are often monopolies (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752595)

That's absolutely true for me. I live in an apartment complex with ONE available Internet provider... who is also the cable provider. Short of setting up a satellite or hijacking someone else's Wireless, I have no options but shitty 'Shentel NTC.'

The bandwidth sucks and its always going on and off, but what am I gonna do? It's not worth it to move.

Whatever (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752465)

Imagine a future water cooler conversation over broadband choice: 'I went with Comcast 'cause they get Yahoo.'"

That's ESPN's vision. The reality is: "I started using Google cause Yahoo! stopped working."

ESPN wireless... (1)

tsnorquist (1058924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752499)

This will get about as far as ESPN's wireless phone service did.

ESPN's on crack (2, Informative)

Huntr (951770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752537)

They have in the past few years tried to push their website to be more video oriented, setting it up to be similar to their flagship Sports Center program, where the sports news isn't as much read, but delivered as on TV. They recently redesigned their website to make the video content an even more integral part of how they deliver sports news. What they don't understand is that some (many?) people don't want it that way. I quit watching their SC stuff on TV for the most part when the fluff really started to pile up. It simply takes too long to get to the point of the story.

When I'm looking for news on the web, even sports news, I want the important stuff immediately. I can get that much faster skimming through a story than watching a few minutes of unimportant filler video. Their website is fine when I want to see a replay of an amazing play or something, but if I want the straight dope, I don't want to sit through a video; I want to read about it. So, I go to sports illustrated and other sites to get news, rarely visiting espn anymore. Its weird, because when I was 1st started really using the internet back in 96-97 or so, espn.com was one of the sites I visited most, but it hasn't been that way in a few years.

Re:ESPN's on crack (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753093)

Ironically, they set up SportsCenter that way to keep people tuned in. Suppose you wanted all of the football scores. They used to have all of the football scores & highlights all in one segment, then went on to, say, all of the basketball scores and highlights. Some marketdroid figured that the fooball people would turn off SC after their football coverage. So now they put a couple of fooball scores, then do a couple of basketball scores to spread them out, figuring that people will watch all of SportsCenter.

Since that is incredibly annoying, I think that has the opposite effect. I avoid SportsCenter altogether.

Only works with live content (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752547)

I don't see it working out for websites that don't provide content as it happens (I assume ESPN360 has live streams of sporting events). As long as the visitor is receiving your data, someone will just mirror it on their own website, or distribute it on P2P networks, without arbitrarily blocking off certain ISPs.

Also, how do they determine who your ISP is? If it's just by IP address, I imagine proxies, or things like Tor, can easily get around that. I hope they don't expect you do submit your billing info every time you log in.

I don't want your content... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752553)

so why should I pay for it with higher ISP fees? This is a typical corporate scumbag tactic. Do 'we the people' need to come together in a class action suit to recover the money stolen from us? If you think people should pay for your content, then charge those who actually access it.

oook.. (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752585)

..and they expect this to work because?

Re:oook.. (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752767)

Well, if push comes to shove, the ISP could just block any traffic going to or originating from ESPN sites, yes? Problem solved. Sure, three people might call their ISP and complain that they can't get ESPN any more, but too fargin bad.

Re:oook.. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752951)

Because many of the major ISPs are also Cable TV companies.

Do I pay twice (4, Interesting)

Ummon (15714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752603)

So what if my ISP is my cable provider (effing Comcast)? Am I effectively paying twice for this content?

Future of video. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752719)

If this becomes the standard system, and the cable companies are used to this kind of system with HBO, Cinamax, etc, then you'll find websites only available through subscription and your cable company will offer you packages.

ESPN.com could shut off access to their site except through authorized ISPs. This looks very attractive to content providers that are losing revenue on broadcast TV and to the cable companies who also fear online content as being free.

I suspect the fee for ESPN is low, just to start the process. Once it get's to be a normal thing, you'll find your access to parts of the internet filtered and ad revenue will no longer be the way websites pay for their bandwidth/workers/hardware. It will be exactly like premium channels on cable.

The question this raises will be the normal website. The one that can't negotiate a fee. Will these die off slowly? Will they become part of an ala carte "everything else"? Will LiveJournal, Facebook and Twitter try to negotiate deals with ISPs?

This was the direction everyone fears the internet heading. The "wild west" will become channels. If websites firewall off unsubscribed viewers and large ISPs control these channels, will the democracy of the internet be in peril or will corporate internet be killing itself?

This is because nobody would subscribe to a .com (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753059)

It's happening everywhere. Nobody is paying money to subscribe to a website. ESPN tried this and failed to get support because there are so many free things out there (you know, like the internet used to be). The problem for them is they also make money off of advertising and need eyeballs. They are trying to figure out ways to play both sides to maximize their profits, and individual users have already told them to go screw themselves.

When I first saw the 360 message, I thought it might have been that Verizon was essentially partnering with ESPN to minimize the bandwidth (a cacheing scheme to minimize the traffic). Guess it's just another money play.

ESPN360 (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752749)

I subscribe to Verizon DSL (FiOS not available yet) and receive access to ESPN360 [espn360.com] this way. The university I work for also subscribes to this, so I can access the site from on-campus. Content wise, I am happy with the offerings -- they have a very good selection of college football and basketball games, and quite a few NBA games as well. There's also some other, less popular (at least in the USA) sports available, like soccer and such. Technology-wise, the service keeps up and provides a good quality signal throughout the game -- not quite HD quality, but certainly watchable, and equivalent to non-HD cable broadcast.

That being said, their ISP-subscription model, while better than a customer-based subscription model (nickel-and-diming the customer for content?), still sucks. I'd much prefer the more open-access advertiser-based model that sites like Hulu [hulu.com] and Joost [joost.com] are using. Then again, even those sites, in reality, are just a bigger version of this ISP-subscription model -- they're only accessible to US-based ISPs, not international. Hopefully, this will change so that people outside the US stop bitching,...

Re:ESPN360 (1)

ForrestFire439 (1458475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753503)

That being said, their ISP-subscription model, while better than a customer-based subscription model (nickel-and-diming the customer for content?), still sucks.

How is "nickel-and-diming" consumers any better than "nickel-and-diming" non-consumers? Sure, it might be better for *you*, but I don't give a flying fuck about ESPN and I sure as Hell don't want to have to pay an ESPN tax just to get on the internet.

Who does ESPN think they are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752861)

Nobody forced ESPN to put their content on the internet... Why not just charge users that want to subscribe to their service? ISPs will just use thing as an excuse to hike up rates for their already sub-par service.

Eyes on the prize, kids... (3, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752871)

While it's fun to sit back and yell "hur, hur, dumb jocks are ruining mah intarwebs!" it needs to be noted at ESPN's parent company is none other than that friend of the little guy, the copyright crusaders themselves, Disney. They are swinging ABC and ESPN around as their entertainment 'killer apps.' They've used their networks as tools like this before, go.com anyone?

I'd be thrilled if ESPN backed away from the amount of video they're using on their site. Call me crazy but I go to a website for an article I can read in peace, not for 30 seconds of commercials followed by whatever annoying, b-team anchor has gotten stuck doing web highlights. They've developed a handful of interesting and entertaining columnists, what they haven't developed are any decent anchors in the past five years.

Expert Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26752899)

i guess this is to pay for all their "expert advice" like Chris (I lost 40 pounds from my mouth) Berman and his great football commentary...

Oh Gawd (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752929)

Oh dear gawd, this couldn't be a worse idea if they tried. And they do seem to be trying... Yes, I know this model works with TV but the internet is not TV. People making decisions like this clearly do NOT understand the nature of the internet.

The goose that lays the golden eggs (1)

darthwader (130012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752957)

The more I hear about this kind of "monetizing" effort, the more I imagine the water cooler conversation like: "I used to use the internet before it became totally useless. Now I just get my news from the newspaper."

ISPs and "content producers" are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Re:The goose that lays the golden eggs (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753335)

So this whole "ISP subscription thingie" is really just a stealth plot to save print journalism?

This is just for ESPN 360 (4, Informative)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26752979)

Big deal. This isn't for video clips available from ESPN.com, it is for their former premium product ESPN 360 [go.com] , which doesn't even show ESPN TV (due, I'm sure, to cable contracts), but various minor live sporting events (minor college football and basketball, MLS, NASCAR Nationwide series). The only difference between this and other products that have been selling versions to ISPs for years is that there is no pay version, you must get this through your ISP.

autoplaying video (1)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753019)

I have stopped visiting espn.com as much recently because for whatever reason if I accidentally leave it open in a tab it will randomly start playing a video five hours later when I am doing something else.

Bad idea on two sides - both for me and ESPN (4, Insightful)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753061)

This raises two issues for me:

1. I am not a sports fan, and I expect ESPN to issue me a credit if my ISP is paying them for a service I do not use and do not want. Now that I think about it, if I could get a discount for having their channels removed from my TV service that would be great, too.

2. ESPN has just eliminated a huge swath of the Internet-using public from viewing their content. If it's a subscription service, sell it as such. The way they are handling this seems like it would be bad for their business.

If I was a sports fan, and I couldn't view ESPN's content because of my choice of ISP, I think I'd just look elsewhere (ie. another sports news site), rather than go through the hassle of changing ISPs.

Re:Bad idea on two sides - both for me and ESPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753397)

I for one do not want ESPN.

The fact that I cannot get a package without ESPN is disgusting.

The time might come... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753063)

...the time could be approaching when you'll choose your Internet service based on what selection of content it offers.

Yep, it might, and I'll pick the nice, cheap, fast one that has no additional content along those lines and doesn't go "look customers, you can view videos 24/7 by paying us a bit extra" while ignoring the fact that their bandwidth will be drained in no-time when people try it.

I'm not sure which would be worse - ISPs charging more because content providers add extra content, or the recent UK suggestion of a yearly "broadband tax" to 'compensate' the record labels for P2P downloads.

why not have user subscriptions? (1, Redundant)

lophophore (4087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753123)

I have no problem with the content producers getting paid for their content, and no problem paying for what I use, but I do have a big problem subsidizing somebody else's habit. If ESPN can do this, then what's to stop MTV, Hulu, Playboy, Vivid, etc... If they need money for their internet content, it's the specific end-users who should carry the cost...

I don't understand why existing well known business models cannot apply to internet TV: advertiser supported, like today's broadcast television, subscriber supported, like HBO, or a true pay-to-play, like today's pay-per-view.

Re:why not have user subscriptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753517)

What about online games? Seems like Blizzard could do the same thing with WoW ... instead of charging the customers $15 a month, just charge the isp :)

A problem with ESPN's plan (2, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753193)

The internet has been successful, because people just route around damage. I would consider this artificial damage by ESPN and it will fail.

... and thus a new internet will be born. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753205)

One of the reasons people are tuning out of TV is exactly this mentality and one of the reasons the internet is so succesful is it's openness and if there are closed sites (aka, like NFL Network), you control the contract yourself, whether or not to sign up or not, it's not up to your TV or Cable company.

If they take this power out of the internet end-users hands (the CHOICE to pay, vs the not even having the choice because it's not available because you're cable company doesn't want it), the internet as we know it will die and new open form will have to be grown.

If I was an ESPN.com advertiser, I'd be upset (1)

dudeman2 (88399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753273)

Why are they pissing off a significant percentage of my target audience?

Hanging on to the old ways (1)

dfarcanjo (631428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753281)

ESPN is just trying to stick to their classic business model.

When the only way to get ESPN was cable TV, they lobbied the cable companies to make sure ESPN was included on as many channel packages as possible, even if it meant ignoring consumer requests. That way more people paid their fee, even if they were not watching the shows. And they made money off people who never watched their channel.

This is just an attempt to repeat that model. Now cable TV is the net, cable companies are ISPs, but even though ESPN is on all packages by default, they're not making money off non-watchers anymore.

Guess what ESPN, proxies and offshore ISPs will not go away. So I guess you're gonna have to depend on the quality of your shows in order to make money. Bummer...

Really dumb idea (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753327)

If you create a market niche, someone will fill it. By shutting themselves out from some providers, they present other content companies with the opportunity to become top dog for those providers. This would be like Microsoft telling PC manufacturers that "we won't let you put Internet Exploder on your Windows-based machines unless you pay us a surcharge".

What about non-popular sites? (1)

discojohnson (930368) | more than 5 years ago | (#26753447)

So my employer has a remote access site that I cannot access when I'm on the road because the hotel doesn't get ISP X? This is getting redicurous; this isn't just a US issue, it's a world-wide thing. Fuck this, I'm moving to the moon.

So how do we report this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26753499)

How do we report this anti-competitive blockage of communications to the FCC?

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