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This would allow customers to watch all the ESPN they want monthly

ESPN may pay for data overages that customers encounter when viewing its content on mobile devices. 

Many mobile subscribers now have data caps to worry about, since tiered pricing plans have taken over unlimited plans with most carriers. This means that customers must keep an eye on how much content they're consuming monthly, such as videos, games and music -- or else they'll be hit with hefty fees. 

ESPN has been talking with an unnamed U.S. carrier about paying for a guarantee that mobile customers viewing its content wouldn't get slapped with data overage fees. This would allow smartphone or tablet users to watch as much ESPN as they'd like without it counting toward their monthly data cap.

This model isn't a sure thing yet, as ESPN is still merely in talks with the carrier. However, it could benefit all sides of the situation.

For ESPN, having consumers watch more of its events on smartphones and tablets means greater revenue from ads on these devices. 

For the carrier, it means having a new source of revenue without having to keep hiking up monthly data plan prices for customers. 

For the customers, they get to watch as much ESPN as they want without worrying about crossing that data cap. 

While this could prove to be a great plan for content providers, carriers and mobile customers, telecommunications regulators may have something to say about the deals if they move forward. 

Another possible way that ESPN could pay carriers is by sharing the advertising revenue with them. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal



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Bad precedent
By chmilz on 5/10/2013 1:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks ESPN, you just created an exciting new revenue stream for wireless operators. They're all likely salivating at the thought of approaching every media company and offering some special rate that allows their media to be consumed en masse while "paying" for the consumers "data overages". There's a cost to this, which will inevitably be passed down to the consumer, when data caps shouldn't exist in the first place.

Then again, maybe this is the first step in killing the data throttling/caps that exist, but I don't have a lot of faith in that.




RE: Bad precedent
By Motoman on 5/10/2013 1:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
No, this is the first step in killing any notion of Net Neutrality and creating a media oligarchy of what websites you'll ever actually have reasonable access to.

This is massive step backwards. What we need is true net neutrality, and reality-based pricing for data plans from cell service providers.


RE: Bad precedent
By Spuke on 5/10/2013 2:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
Nope.


RE: Bad precedent
By Motoman on 5/10/2013 3:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. You're creating an environment in which corporations pay for preferential treatment on your data service.

Catastrophic failure of the most biblical proportions. You fail.


RE: Bad precedent
By Spuke on 5/10/2013 3:21:40 PM , Rating: 1
Except they're not doing that.


RE: Bad precedent
By Motoman on 5/10/2013 3:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
Um, how exactly is paying for the option of being exempt from the consumer's bandwidth limitation *not* buying preferential treatment?

That's EXACTLY what it is, and there's no other possible way to frame it.


RE: Bad precedent
By Spuke on 5/10/2013 3:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
Sure there is. How about ESPN is paying for their customers overages. That sounds about right.


RE: Bad precedent
By Motoman on 5/10/2013 4:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Except for the fact that it bears no resemblance to reality, sure.

What ESPN is paying for is preferential treatment. When you hit your cap, *everything* except ESPN content slows to a crawl, or maybe just goes away depending on your plan.

If they were "paying for your overages" then there would effectively be no cap on your data service. That's obviously not what they're doing.

No, what they're doing is guaranteeing that once you hit your cap, you're going to be their captive audience. And if anyone else wants to get a bit of your eyeballs, they're going to have to compete with big money to get it too...just like ESPN did.


RE: Bad precedent
By BRB29 on 5/11/2013 1:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yep but small content providers don't have that budget. You can say ESPN is doing their customers a favor OR you could say ESPN is blocking the competition.

It is not illegal as ESPN is not pricing under cost.


RE: Bad precedent
By Solandri on 5/10/2013 11:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't a net neutrality issue.

- You pay for 2 GB/mo.
- If you go over, you're supposed to pay for $x/MB.
- ESPN agrees to pay the $x/Mb instead of you.

The pre-paid bandwidth isn't under question. Only the unpaid overage is. Someone has to pay the piper (the carrier) for the overage. ESPN is just saying that they'll do it so the customer doesn't have to. This is analogous to Google offering free wifi at airports over the holidays. Someone has to pay the ISPs providing the wifi. Google pays it instead of the customer (airport travelers).

Net neutrality is about the following situation:

- You pay for 2 GB/mo.
- ESPN agrees to pay the carrier for the same 2 GB/mo which has already been paid for, in exchange for preferential traffic priority.

The reason it's a problem is because in a fixed bandwidth stream, raising the priority of one type of traffic is equivalent to lowering the priority of other types of traffic. The overall bandwidth available remains the same. Essentially the carrier is getting paid something for nothing.


RE: Bad precedent
By mlkmade on 5/11/2013 5:05:55 AM , Rating: 2
Solandri, although what you laid out made complete sense, I think you misunderstood the article.

ESPN wouldn't literally being paying for each individual customers overages. They're paying for any data being used to consume ESPN services to be exempt from the customers data plan altogether. While your descriptions make sense, they don't apply here because ESPN isn't attempting what you described. And I think that's where you missed Motoman's point.

-You pay for 2 GB/mo.
-If you go over, you're supposed to pay for $x/MB.
-You can still watch ESPN because it doesn't count against your data plan,

Which in turn, the only thing you can watch would be ESPN, so in a sense they're paying for a priority, aka your eyeballs.

If ESPN had to pay for each individual's customers overage, it'd be a legalistics nightmare cause everyone's plan and usage habbits from month to month would be different. ESPN is buying data exemption from the network essentially, not paying for overages.


RE: Bad precedent
By Motoman on 5/11/2013 10:34:43 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly...the references to "paying overages" is a total red herring.

They're paying a fee to own the customer once the customer hits his cap. Period.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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