You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Being a reporter doesn't mean tossing your critical thinking skills out the window

Two articles available today about the Big Ten network: One is from the Press-Citizen's Ryan Suchomel, with the unfortunate title of "BTN set to tackle airwaves." It starts off with this wholly unbiased gem:
The Big Ten Network plans to provide fans with all the Big Ten football news they could ever want.
Wow! Neato! The rest of the article is just quotes from a few of the on-air guys, preceded by Suchomel saying what they said, but with different words.
Griffith, a former Illinois player, said Big Ten fans are going to love what they find on the BTN.

"They are going to see stories and features they weren't able to see," Griffith said. "This network has to appeal to the Big Ten fan. They are passionate about all of the games. I'm excited to be a part of it."
Sigh. I mean, what can you say about an article like this? Is it intellectually dishonest? Depends on if Suchomel believes all this shit. Is it lazy reporting? Absolutely. Is it typical of a Gannett paper to toe the "fuck the consumers" line? That's a question for another day (short answer: yes).

Steve Batterson at the QC Times (quickly becoming the paper of record for Hawkeye information), meanwhile, should probably send a thank you card to the sports desk at the PC, because they're making him look awfully good just for pointing out the stunningly obvious: this network is going to take a lot of your money.
Three words of advice when it comes to talking about the current spat between the Big Ten Network and Mediacom – watch your wallet.

As the opening paragraph of a story I wrote more than a year ago when plans for the network were announced, watching Big Ten games in the future will come with a price.

That will not change, no matter how the current impasse between the network and major cable players throughout the region plays out.
From a strict "for the conference and its members" standpoint, this is a noble undertaking. The network is expecting to pour about $7 million a year of revenue into the coffers of each member of the Big 10. How they expect to do that while trying to mean-mug the cable companies into caving in, of course, remains to be seen.

From the cable operators' standpoint... well, good luck trying to get in their mindset. While Mediacom's tussle with Sinclair a few months ago was well-understood, the ESPNU one wasn't. Oh well. As long as cable refuses to allow a la carte channel selection, they'll be a bunch of greedy bastards. Seriously, why charge us for channels we're never going to watch? I imagine plenty of Americans would have a cable lineup similar to mine: Basic channels, Discovery, the ESPN family, TNT, Comedy Central, and Soap Net (don't judge me!). Yet I digress.

Last, the questions remain for the fans: Do you really want to have to pay dozens of dollars a year for shit that's only interesting when it's your own team? How is the channel's programming during the summer months not going to be totally unwatchable? Isn't a march to only subscribe to the channel for 4 months a year pretty much inevitable? Last, if revenue's going to be spread equally, then of that money you're dropping for the network (and its inevitable surrounding tier of channels), lots won't even see the Big 10, then the conference will take its skim, then only 1/11 of it goes to your favorite school. You going to be okay with that while Penn State and Wisconsin duke it out in male field hockey this summer?

1 comment:

Hawkeye State said...

One, two words...oh, fuck it. DirecTV.