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Disney Strikes Against Net Neutrality

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the show-of-hands,-who-is-surprised dept.

The Internet 442

1 a bee writes "Ars Technica is running a story by Matthew Lasar about how Disney's ESPN360.com is charging ISPs for 'bulk' access to their content. According to the article, if you visit ESPN using a 'non-subscribing' ISP, you're greeted with a message explaining why access is restricted for you. This raises a number of issues: '... it's one thing to charge users an access fee, another to charge the ISP, potentially passing the cost on to all the ISPs subscribers whether they're interested in the content or not.' Ironically, the issue came to the fore in a complaint from the American Cable Association (ACA) to the FCC. A quoted ACA press release warns, 'Media giants are in the early stages of becoming Internet gatekeepers by requiring broadband providers to pay for their Web-based content and services and include them as part of basic Internet access for all subscribers. These content providers are also preventing subscribers who are interested in the content from independently accessing it on broadband networks of providers that have refused to pay.' So, is this a real threat to net neutrality (and the end-to-end principle) or just another bad business model that doesn't stand a chance?"

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442 comments

Well, the cable industry should know. (5, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312679)

They're experts on charging everyone for content, whether they want it or not.

(Whatever happened to all those proposals for 'ala carte' cable?)

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312739)

Who cares. Disney is to culture what thyroid cancer is to metabolism. I wouldn't waste a 2400bps connection on their drivel.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (0, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312825)

These are the same folks who bought the last four copyright extensions with mass "secret" donations and visits by Disney-sponsored hookers to congressional offices.

Just you wait. Obama's in office. For a sizable "donation" to his next campaign and certain congressionals, legislation ensuring this is legal will pass within two months tops. That's what you get when you elect a corrupt Chicago politician to the White House.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313189)

These are the same folks who bought the last four copyright extensions with mass "secret" donations and visits by Disney-sponsored hookers to congressional offices.

So our congressmen are not only corrupt, they're also furries?!

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1, Funny)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313249)

"That's what you get when you elect a corrupt Chicago politician to the White House."

[Citation Needed]

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (5, Funny)

foo1752 (555890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312887)

I don't understand your medical analogy. Please restate in the form of a car analogy. Thanks!

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312953)

Disney is to culture what a faulty catalytic converter is to air quality

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313055)

OLD disney films were special.

otoh, to see the dark side of disney, check out the BANNED 'uncle remus' tales (aka 'song of the south').

due to PC pressure, disney self-banned that film. I got a copy on the bay. I grew up with that movie, as a youth, in the 70's. taken in historical context, there's nothing wrong with it. yet disney outright bans it and only released it to some countries.

they also manipulate their 'vault' for fake money reasons, not at all based on real supply/demand, but they try to artificially create scarecity.

the old films are worth stealing (yes, I said that). the new ones are worth nothing at all.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (3, Insightful)

JJRRutgers (595466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312741)

A la carte cable would be the death of 75% of cable channels out there.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312815)

You mean Lifetime, HSN, basically the ones nobody watches anyway?? I say good riddance. Makes flipping channels less wasteful.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312983)

Apparently you don't know any old ladies or bored housewives. Those two channels are on 75% of the time in the homes of the two above categories of all the people I know that fit in them

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313203)

Apparently you don't know any old ladies or bored housewives. Those two channels are on 75% of the time in the homes of the two above categories of all the people I know that fit in them

Just your mom and your wife.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312991)

You mean Lifetime, HSN, basically the ones nobody watches anyway??

No, they mean the Science Channel and Discovery.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313175)

History, A&E, Discovery, etc other than the news channels are basically all I watch on cable...

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (5, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312995)

There's a big difference between "the ones I don't watch anyway" and "the ones nobody watches anyway."

As a Slashdotter you should very careful trying to apply your tastes to the population at large, because it's extremely likely you're nowhere near the norm in that regard.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313113)

And hows is that true for all slashdot reader? Slashdot could be the nerdiest thing I do. How would you know. (going back to espn)

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313355)

A lot of stuff I enjoy watching isn't in the mainstream, but I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and pony up the cash for my entertainment, rather than acting like an entitlement whore for media. Luckily, quite a bit of niche stuff gets sponsored anyway (ie the Revision3 network).

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (2, Insightful)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312841)

A la carte cable would be the death of 75% of cable channels out there.

Yet nothing of value would be lost.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313223)

That certainly depends. If the remaining 25% all survive on "reality tv" I'd say nothing of value would survive.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312871)

And?
If there isn't a market, then there isn't a market.
Of course in most rational places in the world it's a flat fee and no tiers to screw around with, so I would be happy with that as well.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312979)

A la carte cable would be the death of 75% of cable channels out there.

Says who? The cable companies say that, and certain channels. But I don't think anyone knows for sure.

The fact is that cable companies already pay more for certain channels anyway. Sports programming is ridiculously expensive. "A la carte" doesn't mean you'll get each channel for $0.75 either... it's all going to depend on how many people are interested in watching stuff. If there's enough interest in something, people will be willing to shell out even $5 a month for a channel now that they're not paying $15 for loads of sports they never watch. And if there's not enough interest in a channel to keep it afloat, then let it die! It's just wasting money.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (4, Informative)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313101)

A la carte cable would be the death of 75% of cable channels out there.

Yep, especially the more niche ones. Which is why it's actually the cable channel broadcasters who oppose it. A lot of those channels get on there because in order to get a desirable channel (such as ESPN) a cable company is forced to take other channels they might not want and add them to their basic tier. Indeed, most all of them try to force their way onto the basic tier, while wanting to charge premium rates. In the cable companies defense, this is the biggest pressure there is causing basic cable rates to rise.

There was a recent battle between Comcast (I think it was them) and the NFL network... The NFL and other leagues now think that even being shown on sports networks like ESPN isn't good enough and what their own channel. They've since started moving games there that used to be shown by broadcast networks which pissed a lot of football fans off. They are one of the ones wanting to charge outrageous fees for their channel, yet insist it be on basic cable. Comcast agreed to carry the NFL Network but insisted it be on a premium sports tier, which would mean less money for the NFL (but would also mean that subscribers who didn't want it wouldn't have to pay for it). The NFL threw a hissy fit over that. Haven't heard anything about that in awhile but Comcast was sticking to their guns on it.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (4, Interesting)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313321)

I am a Comcast subscriber affected by the NFL network thing and although I missed a couple of games that I expected to be able to watch - I think they are doing the right thing by refusing to stick special interest stuff like NFL Network on basic cable and make people who don't want to watch it pay for it. Would I have liked to see those couple of games that I thought I could watch? Sure. The NFL shouldn't have tried to move them to a crazy new network like that. Should Comcast stick to their guns on this? Absolutely. It's one of the few things that I think they've ever done right.

For the actual issue being discussed here about the ESPN programming - this is indeed the same as the NFL Network deal. I'd prefer to see this ESPN offering die than have my ISP pay extra (and up my bill proportionately). Either make it free to ISPs like content should be, and, if needed, allow individual subscribers to sign up and pay for the content or make it all free and ad supported. Their choice. But none of this back door forcing the ISP to subscribe on my behalf.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313337)

The niche channels should really be marketing themselves directly to customers online anyways. No reason to allocate a premium chunk of cable resources (whether that's bandwidth, or just an identifiable number) for something only an exceptional minority will want.

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (4, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312853)

(Whatever happened to all those proposals for 'ala carte' cable?)

There are a number of objections the cablecos raise against a la carte. In the old days, they'd cry that it wasn't technologically feasible to offer individual channels to each household. That was sort of true; analog filters could block out groups of channels, but if they had rearranged channels logically and used the filters to filter out these groups, they probably could have gotten close to a la carte.

Nowadays, the technology issue is moot. Many, many people have digital boxes, making a la carte extremely simple. All modern cablecos are also in the process of switching their analog customers to digital boxes anyway. Many won't even sell you new analog service. However, the cablecos will say that large channels subsidize the smaller ones (of course that's true), and that if they did a la carte, smaller channels couldn't survive. E.g., fewer people would be paying for BET or whatever, so BET would die out. I don't think anyone actually knows how the numbers would turn out, but there is a lot of crap on cable that people would probably be interested in NOT paying for... however, what I think is crap might be interesting to some people (e.g., sports).

Re:Well, the cable industry should know. (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313065)

I don't think anyone actually knows how the numbers would turn out, but there is a lot of crap on cable that people would probably be interested in NOT paying for...

Great, why don't you give them this wonderful idea. They'll start charging me a monthly fee, and if I don't want cable, they will simply start charging me more, citing that its easier to just serve me up cable than it is to specifically turn me off.

Shameless whore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312689)

Okay fellas, the list [slashdot.org] will now be reposted on a regular basis so as to allow fresh, continuous user comments and not be trapped in the archive freeze.

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312699)

ESPN's Play To Make ISPs Pay http://news.slashdot.org/news/09/02/06/1444258.shtml

What about going through proxies? (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312701)

Could using proxies like Tor assist getting around blocks based on your ISP?

Re:What about going through proxies? (4, Interesting)

orngjce223 (1505655) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312755)

If the exit node is in one of those willingly-paying-through-the-nose ISPs, probably. (Q: Does Tor let you pick where your exit node is?)

The problem is that the (in this case, not grandmas, but) Grandpas who were sent a link to the site by the grandchildren can't see what they're supposed to be seeing, and, simultaneously, people who don't *want* to access the content (like me and mine) are forced to pay for it anyway.

Re:What about going through proxies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312773)

high-bandwidth access through tor? I don't think it was designed for that.

Re:What about going through proxies? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312873)

In theory, the company has caching servers at your ISP, so that there is not a huge bottleneck. (or a decent multicasting server). However, this is the same crap that ESPN does for cable TV too.. Whether you watch sports or not, by far, the biggest chunk of your cable bill is for ESPN.

Re:What about going through proxies? (2, Informative)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312931)

The tor network is not suited for broadband data transfer (it's slow as hell).

An option would be to get one of the middle east proxy service accounts that also have exit points in the US and UK. You can pretty much forget about the free proxies though.

Re:What about going through proxies? (1)

origin29 (535097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313313)

Tor does not let you pick your exit node, and even if you could, you would have to know which ISPs are subscribers, and even if you did, you would have to compare your exit node's IP to ranges in the subscribing ISPs. The point is moot - it's going to be difficult to get to espn360.com, and no one's going to jump through hoops to get it (calling their non-subscribing ISP and whatnot). Once again, big media proves their ineptitude.

They're stuck in the tv mindsest (5, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312721)

These companies seem to be stuck in the TV mindset, and view web sites sort-of like internet channels. Web site owners like ESPN want to be able to sell their "channels" to cable companies, and cable companies want to charge their users extra for "premium content." They're trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. My worry is that they'll manage to do it, via monopoly pressure or government legislation, and end up making my internet service about as convenient as my television service (that is, not at all).

I really wish companies would learn to adapt instead of trying to shoehorn everything into their existing business models. Why do we pay CEOs these ridiculous salaries again? It sure isn't because they're visionaries.

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312783)

"Why do we pay CEOs these ridiculous salaries again? It sure isn't because they're visionaries."

It's because they are all power hungry sociopaths that are charismatic & good at extracting money from us.

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313145)

"Why do we pay CEOs these ridiculous salaries again? It sure isn't because they're visionaries."
It's because they are all power hungry sociopaths that are charismatic & good at extracting money from us.

Corollary: If you don't like it, don't buy it!

It shocks me how many people basically pay these companies exorbitant fees to: treat them terribly, defecate all over their principles, and serve them up mindless garbage that wastes their time and makes them stupid.

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (2, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313287)

When it comes to internet service, I have very little choice in the matter.

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (1)

EQ (28372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313273)

"It's because they are all power hungry sociopaths that are charismatic & good at extracting money from us."

You just described most politicians, including the US Congress and President.

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312859)

Like anybody on Slashdot watches ESPN

Re:They're stuck in the tv mindsest (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313131)

I did, but now I don't have cable anymore. In fact, if ESPN360.com was available for me to subscribe to, I probably would! I love college football, but moved 2000 miles from my favorite team. (GO DUCKS!) No stations around here carry Pac 10 games, only Big 10. I would gladly pay them some money, to be able to watch their games live online! It would still be far cheaper than having cable TV!

If ISPs agree to pay for content they pass on... (3, Interesting)

Artifex (18308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312731)

Do they then become more responsible for what it is they are allowing through?

Compare it to cable companies, where some individual cable channel broadcasters get paid by the cable companies for their content, and the cable companies then have some responsibility over what gets presented.

Well . . . (2, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312733)

Isn't Disney a mickey mouse outfit anyway?

Re:Well . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312893)

yea with a goofy ceo

Is This A Threat to Net Neutrality? Yes. (5, Insightful)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312807)

Obviously. There is really no distinction between charging an ISP for service and forming a partnership with them to provide content. Both are just an agreement between two parties.

This is just another reason why CONTENT providers should be prohibited from making any kind of business deals with SERVICE providers. This is a perfectly reasonable anti-trust regulation and one that I've even seen written up in the editorial section of the WSJ, of all places.

This was before net neutrality was such a hot-button issue, and the article made the point that deregulation would have been much more effective if it had been done in a way to encourage competition instead of prevent it; by preventing this partnership, competition between providers would be enabled. This makes sense even without considering there higher-minded principles behind net neutrality.

Re:Is This A Threat to Net Neutrality? Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313069)

Posting anon because I moderated.

This is just another reason why CONTENT providers should be prohibited from making any kind of business deals with SERVICE providers.

You have just refactored a dozen specific pieces of legislation into one simple concept. This simple rule addresses monopoly problems with telephones, cell phones, cable TV, electricity, gas stations, net neutrality, ... Basically, service oligarchies have found a way around some of the basic principles of capitalism, and this concept fixes it at the core.

I don't think this is net neutrality. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312821)

If a web site want's to be subscriber based, that's fine.
If your customers are ISP's, then it's no different then any subscriber based site; However, when this is done outside of a specific site, then we ahve some serious issues.

Hmmm. OTOH the more I think about it, the less I like it.
Must ponder more.

Re:I don't think this is net neutrality. (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313063)

If this is against net neutrality, then at least its the 'ethical' version. If they want to build AOL 2.0, then let them.

The difference between someone saying "you can't access my content unless someone pays" and someone saying "you can't see this content unless the content provider pays me to let you, even though you've alredy paid me" is vast.

ESPN360 is just a estoteric version of a pay site where the choice to pay is made by your ISP rather than you. If you don't like their choice, you have the option to complain to them or switch.

Re:I don't think this is net neutrality. (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313297)

What is really funny about this is that the whole net neutrality debated started with ISP's demanding that content providers pay them to transport their content. Disney are merely turning the picture around.

In my mind both approaches are wrong. If a content provider wants to make money they should make the users subscribe to the site. If their content is good enough, they'll probably succeed.

Block the site (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312837)

When you visit the site, you get a message blaming your ISP for not being able to use the site. I assume this is done so that you will call your ISP to complain.
ISPs could then block the site completely to prevent their users from seeing this message. Then no one will ask for that content. ISP doesn't have to pay, and customers aren't unhappy because they don't know what they are missing.
Yes, I understand that ISPs blocking sites is a VERY bad idea and a slippery slope, but if the site can block a user based on ISP, then why can't a ISP block a user based on site. It seems equally fair (or unfair) in this case.

Re:Block the site (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313023)

I am paying my ISP for routing to the Internet. They had better not mess with that. If some web site wants to block me, that is their prerogative.

Ooohhh, they have a "Feedback" feature! (5, Informative)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312847)

Guess they want some feedback on this topic:

http://espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/feedback [go.com]

Re:Ooohhh, they have a "Feedback" feature! (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313299)

What did you say?

"I don't like your products so I'm not your customer base anyway."
or
"I'm an avid user of your products who will probably pay you anyway."

Because that's how they're going to see it. I'm not saying you shouldn't voice your displeasure, just wondering how you framed it. This is a "win-win" for them. They get to charge more for the same works AND promote anti-net-neutrality which would eventually help them curb those pesky fair use works, parody works, and, of course, infringed copies.

Re:Ooohhh, they have a "Feedback" feature! (1)

CoolCash (528004) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313301)

I just posted some feedback also. Basically, I will not use their services and I will suggest to all my friends not to use them either.

Small problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312849)

It's called the WORLD-WIDE web for a reason.

Good luck trying to push your fees on all the ISPs of the world.

Isn't ESPN360 the channel itself? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312891)

Now isn't ESPN360 the actual channel that just happens to also have a website? espn.com is not being blocked, content that hasn't been paid for is, as well as they can do without plugging into ISP's databases and figuring out if you've paid to watch the ESPN360 channel.

I subscribe to a magazine that keeps it's archives online but available only to subscribers. I don't see how this is any different.

Re:Isn't ESPN360 the channel itself? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313197)

The difference is that they're essentially trying to get ISPs to pay for access to their service for every customer the ISP has even if it's just a small percentage of the ISP's users who are interested in the service.

As someone who's worked for a few ISP's I'm guessing that what they're hoping for is lots of customer service calls (increased cost for the ISP) resulting in the ISP deciding that it will be cheaper to just pay them so their dumbass customers will stop complaining.

/Mikael

I hate the disney cult... (4, Funny)

t0qer (230538) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312911)

I have relatives that worship Disney. They go to Disneyland 4-5 times a year, buy up every DVD they put out, and one of them even has their bathroom painted to look like a Dalmatian, with little Dalmatian statues scattered about everywhere. It's scary. That being said I hope this blows up in their face. I hope that people realize that the good wholesome fantasy world Walt set out to create is dead, and what's left is just a giant faceless corporation with their tentacles raping our society like a scene out of a Urotsukidji manga. It would be nice to see a boycott over this.

Re:I hate the disney cult... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313047)

I hate the disney cult... (Score:2)
by t0qer (230538)

I misread your nick as t0ger, which I assumed was a "leet" form of Tigger.

And I got very confused.

But then I realized you probably call hats silly names like "toque" because you're Canadian, and all came clear to me.

OTOH, I really don't think Disney is tentacle-raping our society. I just thing they are very effective at industrializing the distillation of cash from fools.

Re:I hate the disney cult... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313193)

Walt's dead. His vision of wholesomeness is also dead. It has been replaced by just the faceless entity you mentioned. To modern people, that IS wholesomeness. It happened gradually enough that they never noticed it, and nowadays, they don't care, because that's all they've known.

Welcome to the wacky world of relativistic opinions on right and wrong!

Re:I hate the disney cult... (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313303)

I never really respond to AC's but you seem to follow the same train of thought that I do so...

Maybe I'm just a pervert, but you ever notice how much makeup the girls on the live action Disney channel shows wear? It's not just makeup either, sometimes the clothes they wear are downright slutty.

One of my friends took his daughter to a Hanna Montana concert, he swore that she(Hanna Montana) danced like a stripper.

Re:I hate the disney cult... (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313255)

I have relatives that worship Disney. They go to Disneyland 4-5 times a year, buy up every DVD they put out, and one of them even has their bathroom painted to look like a Dalmatian, with little Dalmatian statues scattered about everywhere. It's scary. That being said I hope this blows up in their face. I hope that people realize that the good wholesome fantasy world Walt set out to create is dead, and what's left is just a giant faceless corporation with their tentacles raping our society like a scene out of a Urotsukidji manga. It would be nice to see a boycott over this.

This is very true. When Walt Disney was alive, that company used to stand for something and mean something. Now it's no better than any other entertainment company, except that they haven't yet depleted all of the past reputation of the "Old" Disney.

They've been in decline, actually for years now. I expect that in another generation or two (once the last of the generations that grew up with the "Old" Disney quit having kids, the nostalgia will be gone and they will be in a world of hurt.

Re:I hate the disney cult... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313331)

I don't know, I don't worship Disney or anything...but when I went down to Disneyworld with my wife and son, we had a pretty good time. Yeah, it was expensive, but it was fun. I didn't once think to myself "wow, what a faceless corporation raping all of us here on Space Mountain".

Also, why does one person's enjoyment...like one of your relatives that decorated their bathroom... threaten you? How is that "scary"? Do you really consider yourself better than them because you're cynical about everything and actually know about "a(n) a Urotsukidji manga"? You're not one of those people that hate everything popular are you? Here's a test, ever use the term "sheeple" in a conversation or forum post?

Their loss (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312957)

Lousy place to ask, but do any of yous go to their site? Last time I did was three years ago to watch World Cup.

local broadband monopolies (3, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312967)

The problem at the bottom of all this is the existence of local broadband monopolies. If local broadband markets weren't monopolies, there'd be no problem. Disney could try to extort money from ISP #1, in order to force all of 1's customers to pay an ESPN tax, regardless of whether they wanted to view ESPN via the internet or not. If there was a second ISP, then ISP #2 could position itself as the no-frills ISP in the area, not offering ESPN, and people like me who aren't interested in ESPN would go with ISP #2. In this competitive economic environment, Disney's business plan wouldn't work. All they'd accomplish would be to create a class of users, the customers of ISP #2, who wouldn't even have the option of paying to view ESPN if they wanted to. Disney would recognize that, and wouldn't try this business plan in the first place.

I'm not surprised it's ESPN starting this (2, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312985)

ESPN loves to milk tons of money out of cable systems, and in fact, their channels are amongst the most expensive for cable providers, mostly because Disney insists that they be on the "basic" tier. Funny thing is the more ESPN channels they add the worse their programming seems to get, and my days of making sure I didn't miss SportsCenter are LONG gone thanks to the Internet, but I digress.

So, I'm not surprised that they are trying the same thing with ISP's. I don't think this is going to work out that well though. Getting to see broadcasts of games online won't be more than a niche until much faster broadband is available and wireless broadband is more ubiquitous. ESPN was one of the first to start charging for web content in the first place, which is where I'd think it'd be appropriate to sell subscriptions to their video service, but it seems to me that they want to force the ISP's to pay, hence forcing every SUBSCRIBER of that ISP to pay for it as it will be passed on, thus netting them cash from people who don't want their video service and won't use it.

Given how they've been larding up their website with screaming video ads that start playing immediately I've been going to it less and less. They really are living on past reputation only as their content has really gone down hill the past couple years. I certainly don't want my ISP to pay and pass the charges on to me.
   

Re:I'm not surprised it's ESPN starting this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313177)

When Chad Ochocinco retires he will become an analyst on ESPN 8: The Ocho.

So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312987)

Usenet vs. Disney 360
How many people did not use usenet but everyone was paying for it? Discuss how this is different.

Trollish yes but most devil's advocates are.

stuck or uninspired (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312993)

It seems like Disney, along with the other media giants, have become bean counters instead of creative thinkers. One would think that with all their experience and finances they would be able to come up with an innovated business model. Instead, they come up with uninspired plans that mirror their vapid and insipid media products.

If I were a media company, I would be giving revenue shares to ISPs who signed up individual subscribers to my service. Get my ISP to offer an ESPN / Fox sports / MLB or NFL bundle that gives access to all three sites and offer them a cut of the revenue.

Fuck them and the animated horse they rode in on! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313013)

Simple solution: Boycott their content completely. Do not need DO NOT WANT.

What everyone forgets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313045)

are two important concepts. First, the 'Net was built to route around problem areas. Second is human nature wanting things for free (or as close to free as possible). Combine these two, and what you have is a business opportunity for some enterprising entrepreneur to bypass The Mouse.

Technological issues and the government (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313083)

I can imagine several ways to work around this "issue" through IP packet forwarding and other related methods to get around this sort of blocking and fee schedule. I would imagine that to do this would result in legal actions of various sorts and regulating how you can access stuff like this through "terms of service" agreements that are draconian.

The big issue here... and hit squarely on with the original /. posting here... is that this is a business model for getting somebody to pay for content. They are certainly free to try different business models, but IMHO it is flat-out wrong for the government to guarantee that a particular business model will work. If folks can find a way to work around this and ensure that this particular business model isn't profitable, it shouldn't be tried.

I could say the same thing about P2P networks, and in a funny way it is. Forwarding content of this nature would merely be another "service" provided by P2P networks, as just one more example of how this could be worked around. Disney is trying to find a technological solution to a social problem... which never works in the first place.

more buffets, less carrying change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313107)

I like this trend.
One of the biggest things I love about america is the buffet, the free refills of coke and water.
I know they aren't really free, that someone is paying for them.
But, the convenience, and not having to think about money for that choice of getting more soda is great.

I don't want to have to put in my credit card information everytime i want premium content on the net...
I am willing to splurge a little, even be wasteful in the amount of content i have access to, if its one bill at the end of the month.

Now it would be really nice, if this concept extended to blogs, and something like wordpress joined...
Then, even the little bloggers could get into the action.

While I love opensource, and release 99% of code i write, not everyone has the luxury of coding or creating entertainment for a hobby.

Maybe welfare will cover your internet costs someday if you can't afford decent entertainment... Then as the isp's pass the cost down to you, you can pass it down to the tax paying media corp...

Honestly, it doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.. (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313127)

I am making a wild guess that this service is one fanned-out locally by an ISP instead of fed individually to all users from a central source. (NBC did something like that for the olympics.) ESPN is offering this as a service to ISP's who would like to provide these live feeds to their customers. I see no difference between this and an e-mail provider offering to provide e-mail services to a particular ISP. This looks no different than any other subscription service, only in this case the subscribers are ISPs instead of individual users. Given the bandwidth live content requires, this makes perfect sense.

SirWired

Preventing competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313129)

If an ISP pays them for content, what are the chances he will pay a competing network for similar content? Or a small startup? This is simply a ploy to limit competition.

there are other websites, espn360 is not unique (1)

skywiseguy (1347553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313143)

there are other websites out there that stream live sports, it's not like espn360 is unique in the content they deliver. this is just extortion at its base level, from a company that has the legal muscle to do pretty much whatever they feel like doing. if you want to watch a live baseball game, MLB has a pay per view site. if you want to watch tennis, there's a pay per view site for that too. in addition to at least one free site that i've used for all sports, www.myp2p.eu

Cable Internet is Why They'll Get Away With It! (1)

Kagato (116051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313149)

Basically, the reason Disney can do it is because they can tie paying the internet license with their TV Content. Just how they forced all the cable companies to make Disney Channel(s) a required basic cable package channel (raising everyone bill by a couple bucks a month to boot). Because they can force the cable companies to pay for it that will put large Telco based ISPs at a disadvantage. That will hurt the few independent ISPs still out there in each market.

Cancel your cable (1)

jayemcee (605967) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313159)

Agreed, ESPN is terrible, especially Tommy Smythe :) I canceled my cable and rarely miss it. Hulu does a good job for most of the mainstream content, but I subscribe to Setanta Broadband and FSC Broadband for my football (soccer) fix. Now that Setanta is seemingly no more I may be facing having to go back to cable since only FIOS carries 360 around here (Cablevision country). ESPN will get to bid for the US rights formerly owned by Setanta and no doubt put it on 360 if they win. Or I can go back to the dodgy Chinese broadcasts :)

Re:Cancel your cable (1)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313309)

Or you could just find some way to watch sports that doesn't involve selling out to ESPN's idiocy.

If you reward them they will continue to fleece you.

No brain surgery here (2, Insightful)

steve buttgereit (644315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313171)

If the ISPs feel it isn't a good investment or feel that it's unfair: they shouldn't pay for it. If they do think it provides enough value: they should if Disney asks them to.

Yes they will pass those costs on, but they can only put their prices up so high before they lose value to their customers and they walk. And yes even cable providers and ISPs have a threshold to their value beyond which the price ain't worth it.

If enough of their customers want Disney, they'll continue, if not they'll buck the deal.

Think about it: if Disney and other majors cost the ISPs too much, the ISPs may well tier their services for consumers; if consumers feel the extra price to access Disney is worth it more power to Disney and the ISP. The extra value will be worth it... I suspect on the Internet people would find other content (maybe even non-Disney content, shudder) rather than pay a premium. If ISPs don't offer enough service for price, people won't buy the service.

Going to the FCC or trying to steal the content isn't going to solve anything and ultimately punishes those that create the value.

History repeats (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313201)

There was another ISP/company that did the same thing as these media company's are trying to do today. They are trying to erect a wall around some parts of Internet access, to protect their precious. More power to Disney and these other shit heads. The last company that tried to erect a similar wall was AOL, and now they are a worthless company.

sounds like cutting off your nose (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313275)

to spite your face. Disney thinks that people will pressure their ISP into paying? Fat chance. There are too many other things to look at on the web.

Campfire stories for your kids... (3, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313329)

Once upon a time, when I was your age, we were able to go anywhere on the internet that we wanted. Then the websites realized they couldn't make any money that way and started packaging themselves together and selling access rights to ISPs just like cable tv does. And guess what? The websites made money, and people payed more money to the ISPs for access, and all the corporations rejoiced. Thus died the golden age of the internet which we now just call 'interactive cable'

A work-around to Net Neutrality for the Big Wigs? (2, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313339)

The excuses they use in opposition to Net Neutrality have viable compromises/work-arounds. It seems like they can still be evil to the consumer in a Net Neutral World. It's just harder to but a barrier to competition, so that consumer would have alternatives. The only reason I can see is that they are trying to be anti-competitive which is, well.. monopolistic/evil/illegal.

Suppose Net Neutrality were there accepted rule:

Would it be in violation for a website to offer a faster experience to premium users? I don't think so. I think it's okay for a site to throttle their out-going traffic. This has nothing to do with shaping traffic en-route.

Would it then be in violation of Net Neutrality to run a promotion with Comcast, say: "Sign up now and get a life time pass to the ESPN Express Lane (TM)". I don't think so. They are not restricting access by messing with the Tubes.

I think the real reason they wouldn't do something like this is because it wouldn't stop a newcomer for providing a better experience for free. It's clearly an intent to squeeze out the competition and limit choice for consumers.

Oh the irony of it all (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313351)

The irony of it being a cable organization complaining about this is cable (and satellite) companies do the *exact same thing* with cable programming like ESPN...the large expense (ESPN is one of the more expensive programming packages) of a cable system getting ESPN is passed on to almost all of their subscribers, whether they want to watch it or not. And in some cases whether they even subscribe to a tier that includes ESPN programming or not. Its kind of funny to watch them get a taste of their own medicine. This is one of those proverbial pot and kettle situations.

From Europe seems fine... (4, Informative)

plankrwf (929870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28313365)

The site in question seems to work fine from Europe. That was actually my guess beforehand: indeed, how could Disney make deals with all the ISP from overseas...
So it seems that Disney has chosen to only close it to 'some US citizins', ie those of certain ISP's.
(Those which are not one of their choosing).

Guess Disney should be glad to be in the States, and not somewhere in Europe where our Dutch Neelie could get at them ;-0
(See e.g. http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/31/1328249 [slashdot.org] ).

FirSt p0st (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28313367)

grandstanders, the standards Should you join today! dicks produced
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