My newest monthly opinion piece for The Information is up, “It’s Not TV, It’s the Customer Experience”.
I wrote about the upcoming releases of the Game of Thrones prequel “The House of Dragon” on HBO Max, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime Video, and Star Wars prequel series“Andor” on Disney+. The next few weeks will be a key test for Amazon’s, Disney’s and Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming business models. Only two of them seem poised for long-term success.
I’ve learned not to spend too much time focusing on sports streaming.
Part of that is incentives - I have yet to see a spike in sign-ups after I write about the topic.
Part of that is expertise - there are experts on the sports TV marketplace out there whose work I respect and they tweet more often than they write.
Part of that is transparency - we tend to find out a deal happened or someone won a bidding war after secret negotiations and bidding took place.
Part of that is the inevitability of change - the Regional Sports Networks (RSN) model is most vulnerable to cord-cutting, if not a primary factor behind it, and there is yet to be any promising alternative model to emerge.
But most of all it’s the complexity - streaming has made sports distribution deals highly technical and somewhat convoluted (See: The English Premier League on Peacock).
That said, sports rights are the topic du jour this week.
I think all the billions behind these sports rights deals are speculative, and up being perverse incentives for legacy media streamers to experiment at a time when they *need* to figure out what audiences will stream at scale.
A favorite quote of mine from NBA owner Mark Cuban (which I wrote about last in March 2021) is from an interview he gave to SportsTechie in April 2020. It’s worth re-reading whenever a new sports streaming rights deal is announced:
One of the things that’s changed ...