SBD/Issue 41/Sports Media

Yankees Online Streaming Effort Drew About 6,000 Subs This Year

Debate About Best Model To Use For Live,
In-Market Online Streaming Accelerating
MLB's "initial in-market streaming effort drew approximately 6,000 subscribers this year who paid to watch" Yankees games live online, according to sources cited by Fisher & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The 6,000 subs "either beat or fell short of expectations, depending on who's talking, and further accelerates the debate about the best model to use for live, in-market online streaming." MLB sources said that the "Yankees On YES" in-market broadband product "exceeded internal projections of 5,000 users." The product "launched in July with Cablevision, and distribution deals with Verizon and Blue Ridge Communications followed." But since "Yankees On YES" did not begin until midseason, a "large subscriber base was not expected immediately." RSN execs "not involved with the effort ... called the take-up rate too low and said it was evidence that an in-market streaming service should complement TV telecasts rather than searching for its own significant revenue stream as a stand-alone offering." If the 6,000 users "all paid the $49.95 half-season subscription price, MLBAM, the Yankees, YES and all of the distributors would wind up splitting about $300,000, which is a fraction of what the Yankees' TV rights are worth." The Padres also "rolled out in-market streaming this season, in partnership with Cox Communications, but sources branded the purchasing for those games as minimal, falling below even 1,000 users." Meanwhile, MLBAM this year "surpassed 1 million subscribers for all of its paid-content products, a more than 20[%] jump from its 2008 total." Fisher notes "about 500,000 people purchased MLB.TV," while "more than 300,000 subscribed to the well-received At Bat mobile appliction." There were "about 150,000 people" who purchased Gameday Audio and "about 20,000 people paid for a premium-level version of the GameDay online game-tracking product; and about 75,000 signed up for Postseason.TV" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/9 issue).

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