SBJ/August 12 - 18, 2002/Opinion

Leave college rights in hands of experts

Can you tell me if Neal Pilson, while at "the network," advocated that all college programs "take back their rights" and drive those incremental rights and revenues back toward their campuses ["Mine the gold in those college video rights," SportsBusiness Journal, July 22]? Especially those conferences that took TV money from his employer?

Most colleges do not have the expertise or knowledge even to know how to redistribute these rights and the content they cover. Many companies around the world have expertise in this area and are doing a bang-up job for college and professional programs. Following Pilson's advice is fine as long as the college or institution can be reasonably confident that it is a "qualified expert" in the sale, resale, distribution and syndication of these rights. If so, then there really is nothing to worry about.

Colleges and institutions of higher learning are better suited to educate and not compete in the private sector on such delicate issues. Plenty of "program contributors" to numerous colleges would rather the university allow the experts to perform these services for their alma mater and gain as much market share as possible for their clients instead of the alternative of having a new layer of first-timers trying to do the impossible.

Success and greatness take consistency and well-planned-out expertise in your field of performance, all attributes that change every year. My suggestion would be for all colleges and institutions of higher learning to stick to education and leave the generating of rights fees and broadcast/production fees and new media revenues to the experts in these respective fields.

Making innocent minds believe that there is a three-step method to see hundreds of millions of dollars is ridiculous! A lot of us wish it were that easy.

By the way, the answer to my question in paragraph one is no. Take that to the bank.

Chris Collins

Seattle

Chris Collins is founder and CEO of Digicast Corp.

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