15 September 2007

Big Game

It's Saturday in Columbus and that means one thing for me and another for the vast majority of Columbusites: reading Hollis and Smith (for me) and watching Washington attempt to upset OSU in Seattle (for the rest). Okay, I'll recant. I'm hoping for a nice 50%+ (play money) payoff on newsfutures if the upset doesn't happen, and probably I'd watch the game if I had cable...

Of course, with each passing gameday the gap in cable coverage for Big Ten contests grates on the denizens of Columbus and mid-Ohio. The battle is corporate, complex, and confusing, but these are the basic issues as far as I understand them:

The recently inaugurated Big Ten Network wants cable companies to offer their channel on basic cable service and pay $1.10 per customer per month for the privilege (a no-brainer way to optimize profits). The largest cable provider in central Ohio, Time Warner, doesn't want to pay that much and in any case argues that the network has a niche market, qualifying it for expanded packages which users can opt in or out of - transferring the hefty cost to the consumer.

The Big Ten Network's main advantage for a rather indifferent graduate student like myself is that its revenues will go to the members of the conference (I'm not saying that I'll see a stipend jump from TV ads, but maybe they'll add an expansion to OSU's already absurd athletic center.) The network's official line is available here. Time Warner is spinning out its own propaganda against the Big Ten Network. And it's not just a problem in Ohio, where the network is at least in "productive" negotiations with Time Warner.

Luckily (for some), the game today is being broadcast on ESPN anyhow.


Luke said...

I thought you didn't like football?

Aldous said...

Of course I don't like football. Only undergrads may like football. I just use it to optimize utility in fake online event-futures trading markets.