On the surface, it might seem like sports and books have nothing in common. But in today’s uber-digital world, sports is just another type of content. And we can always learn from the ways other people package their content.
Exhibit A: The Beloved has been hinting that for his birthday this year, he would like me to once again get him a subscription to MLB.com, the streaming video service for major league baseball. Last year, iTunes billed me 30 bucks a month for it; I paid for the first two, then he paid me himself for the other months.
This week, he told me had had learned that MLB.com planned to offer single-team packages for a lower fee. You could subscribe to just the team you follow, and pay almost 25 percent less. There are some flaws in the whole deal; I read the entirety of the story he sent me, and still could not figure out if fans could subscribe to their local team or not, for instance. This single-team option is the result of an anti-competition lawsuit, as the article explains:
“The lawsuits had claimed that the leagues’ clubs and some television broadcast entities collude to eliminate competition in the airing of games on the Internet and on television. Baseball had defended a decades-old system of regional television contracts designed to protect each baseball team’s area from competitors.”
I read two other articles on this, and found them filled with both sports lingo and legalese that was slightly above my head. But I was not the only one who immediately started thinking about the implications for other types of media. The first thing the Beloved said to me after he told me the news was, “Now, imagine if they could do this for books!”
Yes, imagine. What if you could filter your Kindle Unlimited subscription in this way: $9.99 for the whole thing, but only $3.99 if you restrict your access to just a single genre? Or a ‘book club price’ where you pay an annual fee, and in return you get a break on price by, say, 10 favourite authors?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s books or baseball. It’s all just content, and I’d love to see more flexibility in the way it’s offered to customers.