Let me say upfront that I am not a fan of SOPA or PIPA, which attempt to police the internet. Nor am I a fan of internet piracy that seeks to subvert legal copyright. One can believe both things.
That said, here at the Homestead, we try to pinch some pennies. So we don't send our dollars to cable or satellite, instead we use a Roku box, and Netflix. Generally, we watch a whole lot less TV than we used to, so it is a win-win. But the times when we miss traditional TV the most are when we want sports. Live sports are hard to get on the internet, and sometimes one must turn to a less-than-official site to watch a live-broadcast. However, if given the choice between an official broadcast and a pirate-y broadcast, we would like to choose the official one. Which is why we were so excited that the NFL would be streaming the Super Bowl this year.
The Super Bowl just ended, and I have to give the NFL and NBC a fail.
Let's talk about what could have been, first. NFL and NBC created a unique opportunity here. I think they recognize that a lot of people want streaming sports. And that scares them. What if people don't watch it on regular TV? How will they make their money? So they tried the streaming experiment. Now what they could have done is provide a high-quality, steady streaming experience. One that clearly matched the live broadcast. One that kept you riveted to your window. One with clickable stats and interactive features. They could have bilked their advertisers for specialty spots - they could have made more money by selling advertising that only the internet folks could see. They could have given us something to talk about. It could have been a glorious, money-making, fan-pleasing adventure.
What we got, was a whole lot of suck. Pardon my vernacular, but there it is. The streaming was hurky-jerky. That could have been my internet, but I don't think so. We tested it. We stream just fine thankyouverymuch. There were no interactive features. I did see a streaming twitter feed, but since I was also watching twitter on my smartphone (and getting better, up-to-date-info from it), I didn't pay attention.
And there were only 3 commercials. Two for a phone, and one for a confusing movie starring Navy seals.
That's right. No commercials. Well, that isn't fair. There was also a constantly repeating something with a man who looked a whole lot like Rainn Wilson, but couldn't have been, who kept encouraging us to click on a link to watch the commercials, but Who Does That? Why make it harder to advertise to us? Why make it harder to earn your money? Bad business, NFL. Bad business NBC.
But, wait, that's not all. Guess what else was different about the streaming experience. No Halftime show! Yup. So while I could read all about it on Twitter (and get proof that the streaming was on a 3-minute delay), I couldn't watch Madonna look like skeletor, or melt into a puddle, or something about Betty White and Clint Eastwood. No, I don't know what I am talking about, because the NFL didn't stream it.
Now, I am sure there were intensive discussions about marketing, and residuals, and market-share, and money money money. I don't care. What we ended up with is a fan experience that sucked. Big time. How is that good business?
And it doesn't make me want to buy from your advertisers. Or get cable. Or even get an antenna. It makes me want to blog about it.
You know, marketing experts have a saying: a happy customer will tell two people. An unhappy one will tell 20. This one will put it on the internet.
Oh, and why didn't I just switch to my favorite not-quite-legit site for streaming, a site where I would see the ads and maybe be inspired to spend some dough? Ads from which NFL and NBC were making money? Because the feds shut down most of them last week. That is the power of the NFL. I think we should all be a little worried.