Friday, April 22, 2011

How Ham Radio Debunks Exclusive Rights

When you become a ham, one of the key tenants of FCC rules is to use only the amount of power necessary to get the message through.  In emergency communications, you choose whatever mode you need for the same reason.  Voice communications over HF takes up the most bandwidth and power, and sometimes can't reach everyone it needs to. CW (morse code for the non-hams) requires the least power or gear, but you need a specialist and special gear to use it.  Same for digital modes.

What does this have to do with college sports?

The audience will never choose the lower mode of communication just because it's free, and other ways of getting coverage out about events do not take away from the TV audience.  The NCAA figured this out.  The Olympics (sort of) figured this out. Turner and other content producers backing TV Everywhere understand it.

Works like this. You want to be at the stadium. If not, watch at home on your TV. If not, watch on a computer stream. If not, listen on the radio. Or watch a live blog. Or catch Twitter updates.

In the video world, that would be called adaptive streaming.

Unfortunately, too many of our providers continue to block access in large geographic areas based on the outdated theory that by stopping a computer based stream this is pushing the end user to get to the television.

No, it's only pissing off the fans that are not at home, don't have the channel where they are, or have some other reasonable impediment to using the TV network's traditional production.

Only a small minority are working really hard to "get around" paying for a cable network produced show just to save money.

We need as a collective to recognize this, and do more to free the information to flow to the fans.  We will reap the benefits through larger audiences and increased connection to our teams.

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