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Thread: Google in early talks with NFL on "Sunday Ticket" service

  1. #1
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    Google in early talks with NFL on "Sunday Ticket" service

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...97K0YG20130821

    Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:46pm EDT

    (Reuters) - Google Inc has opened discussions with the National Football League to buy the rights to the "Sunday Ticket" subscription TV service now owned by DirecTV, tech blog AllThingsDigital reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

    The acquisition, if consummated, would dramatically boost the media efforts of the Internet search company, which is trying to ramp up original programming and earn subscription revenue as opposed to advertising income.

    The "Sunday Ticket" service allows NFL fans to watch a wide variety of football games outside of their local markets.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials called on Google, Facebook Inc and several other key Silicon Valley companies in recent days, as part of efforts to improve their content, NFL spokesman Alex Reithmiller confirmed on Wednesday. He did not elaborate.

    But the tech blog cited sources saying Google CEO Larry Page and YouTube content chief Robert Kyncl specifically discussed acquiring the rights to the popular Sunday Ticket package with Goodell and his delegation.

    Google's YouTube last year expanded its stable of original content by promoting and investing in hundreds of dedicated channels, hoping to shed its image as a repository for grainy home videos and to start putting out quality content to boost advertising sales and earn subscription revenue.

    A content tie-up between the popular NFL and Google could have ripple effects throughout the media industry, analysts said. It could bolster demand for services that bypass traditional cable, pressure values for some TV and satellite networks, and encourage users to sign up for broadband, Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible said.

    DirecTV has sounded upbeat about its chances of renewing the estimated $1 billion-a-year "Sunday Ticket" contract with the league when it expires after the 2014 season.

    The exclusive package, which allows fans to watch games outside of their home markets, is considered by analysts an important tool for the satellite TV service in efforts to attract new subscribers.

    RIPPLES

    AllThingsD called talks between Google and the NFL "informal" for now.

    Neither Google nor DirecTV responded to requests for comment.

    Google's addition of "Sunday Ticket" would mark its biggest foray so far into the realm of quality programming and subscription-video services. It could also accelerate "cord cutting," or viewers switching to online-viewing sources from traditional cable channels, analysts said.

    However, the NFL could come under significant pressure from holders of its other TV licenses, the traditional TV and broadcast networks, who would seek to discourage a tie-up with an Internet powerhouse like Google.

    "If Google were to secure the Sunday Ticket rights, we may have a situation where consumers can start to create a more viable alternative" to a traditional cable plan, analyst Wible said.

    He speculated that along with Netflix Inc and Hulu services now available over the Internet, consumers could begin to create a true "a la carte" package in which people select the specific TV services they pay for.

    "While we don't know the pricing for any Google product, it is safe to assume this bundle would be far cheaper than a traditional TV package," he said. "These dynamics have the potential to exacerbate cord cutting and may create a vicious cycle as the cost of programming on traditional TV would move higher with each loss of a (subscriber) - increasing the odds that another will cut the cord."

    (Reporting by Edwin Chan in San Francisco and Liana Baker in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

  2. #2
    Oh no! The POOR cable companies are afraid of losing their monopolies are they???

    And how DARE people "be able to select specific tv services they PAY FOR"

    NFL needs to stop giving Directv exclusive rights.

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    If it becomes a bidding war, DirecTV has no chance. Would love to see the Sunday Ticket available without having to get DirecTV.

  4. #4
    1. Yes to "Channel-by-Channel A la Carte" Television Services

    2. No to Sunday Ticket ever leaving Direct TV.

    3. Yes to Sunday Ticket EXCLUSIVITY ending.

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    You know it will be very cheap as Google knows how to add up pennies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    1. Yes to "Channel-by-Channel A la Carte" Television Services

    2. No to Sunday Ticket ever leaving Direct TV.

    3. Yes to Sunday Ticket EXCLUSIVITY ending.
    You have to wonder how that will affect DirecTV. If they lose the exclusivity agreement, will they have enough cash to even pay for the rights to Sunday Ticket? Granted the rights will be less expensive on a non-exclusive agreement, but I imagine they will take a hit in their subscriber base.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Churchill View Post
    1. Yes to "Channel-by-Channel A la Carte" Television Services

    2. No to Sunday Ticket ever leaving Direct TV.

    3. Yes to Sunday Ticket EXCLUSIVITY ending.
    If three happens, two would be moot, DirecTv would be Dish with higher prices

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sec.101row23 View Post
    If it becomes a bidding war, DirecTV has no chance. Would love to see the Sunday Ticket available without having to get DirecTV.
    Directv is owned by Rupert Murdoch (FOX/Sky News)

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    Could lead to Sunday Ticket becoming more of an online service, similar to the international "Gamepass" service available outside the US.

    Gamepass has been a godsend for international fans. It's great (when it works....there have been a few technical issues over the years) but it's never been particularly cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sec.101row23 View Post
    If it becomes a bidding war, DirecTV has no chance. Would love to see the Sunday Ticket available without having to get DirecTV.
    IDK; think it through. What we don't see is the DIRECT (pun intended) challenge to the NFL Experience offered by NFL.com

    Why would the NFL let Google have the keys to the kingdom? They have almost as much juice as Google!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    IDK; think it through. What we don't see is the DIRECT (pun intended) challenge to the NFL Experience offered by NFL.com

    Why would the NFL let Google have the keys to the kingdom? They have almost as much juice as Google!
    It's all about money. Who has more money than Google.. A few billion is pocket change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    IDK; think it through. What we don't see is the DIRECT (pun intended) challenge to the NFL Experience offered by NFL.com

    Why would the NFL let Google have the keys to the kingdom? They have almost as much juice as Google!
    Good point, if the NFL is looking for an online provider for Sunday Ticket then THEY (the NFL) should be that provider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sec.101row23 View Post
    If it becomes a bidding war, DirecTV has no chance. Would love to see the Sunday Ticket available without having to get DirecTV.
    Just FYI, it's available now with Madden 25. The game costs $99 and comes with Sunday Ticket for a tablet or computer, so all you need to do is get an HDMI cord and run it from your computer to your TV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xmarco View Post
    If three happens, two would be moot, DirecTv would be Dish with higher prices
    I don't know if I agre with that. In my experience, DirecTv has a better product than Comcast, customer service is vastly superior, and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMJK View Post
    It's all about money. Who has more money than Google.. A few billion is pocket change.
    How does that work; in layman's terms?

    Quote Originally Posted by sec.101row23 View Post
    Good point, if the NFL is looking for an online provider for Sunday Ticket then THEY (the NFL) should be that provider.
    Pretty much. A couple of Tijuana servers, and you've got an NFL that tastes like fresh Mexican.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman Harris View Post
    Oh no! The POOR cable companies are afraid of losing their monopolies are they???

    And how DARE people "be able to select specific tv services they PAY FOR"

    NFL needs to stop giving Directv exclusive rights.
    philosophically, I agree with you. But since DTV gives me NFL Sunday ticket Max every year for free with other assorted discounts, I selfishly want it to stay the way it is.

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