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Pin the (Long) Tail on the Colts

February 7th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Super Bowl highlights are up on the iTunes Store (which still has DRM) and this reminds me again that the producers of sports programming are missing a huge opportunity to cash in on the Long Tail Effect. Look, I could care less about Peyton Manning (the shameless shill!) and the Colts. I was rooting for the Chargers this year (my wife is from San Diego and we visit every summer). Still, I’m sure that there are dozens of Colts fans that will buy the highlight video from the iTunes Store to remember their team’s victory. Bears fans probably won’t be interested, except to watch the first 12 seconds a few times and dream about next year.

But I’d sure like to own highlight films of my hometown San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victories under Joe Montana and Steve Young. Shoot, even a “Road to the Super Bowl” special featuring “The Catch” would be fun to own. Then I’d still like to get a video of UCSB winning this year’s College Cup (Go Gauchos!) and maybe some classic games too. Yeah, classic all-time sports matchups on the iTunes Store – are you feeling me now?

Given the fact that ESPN Classic still takes up channel space on my cable provider, I have to imagine that there is a huge unserved market here for people to own reasonably priced highlight films (or entire games) of classic sports matches. Here’s another thought…

The market for people that want to watch UCSB’s mens soccer team trounce the UCLA Bruins is probably relatively small (though there is at least one customer lined up with credit card in hand). The market for any of these classic games from the past is going to be relatively small, right? But here’s the kicker – while there might be only a few people that want to buy a particular game on video featuring their favorite team, most every person has a favorite team. If you told a network exec that they could sell a $1.99 video to every single person who uses the iTunes Store only using their existing archives of material, don’t you think they would start listening? intently?

Producers need to start waking up to the possibilities here. I’m sure that with the explosion of old TV episodes on DVD, the idea has occurred to someone. I just hope someone at the top of Disney, Viacom, GE, etc. will pay attention when one of their people brings them the idea.

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