Streaming Wars For Live Sports, Entertainment, and Gambling

On some occasions I will read through three or four articles and put something together - cut a sentence from here another from there and throw in my own stuff if it makes sense. I can’t see attaching three articles that kind of get everything into an explanation.

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He’s not artificial!

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As we are on the subject of the NFL and its antitrust exemption for broadcast rights, which comes via a federal law from 1961, it turns out the NFL has been in federal court for eight years over the matter of its NFL Sunday Ticket package.

I am no expert on these matters and not even close, but I have little doubt that the NFL’s plans for exclusive streaming packages will be impacted as well.

Years ago before recent controversies, Mark Cuban commented on the NFL with the line about bulls and bears with pigs getting slaughtered.

With what the NFL has pulled off recently, I think they are courting these legal troubles with their exceptional greed.

Or of course they could just put the games on free TV, simulcast to streaming, and make money several hands over fist.

The eight-year-old legal battle centers on allegations that the NFL and its clubs conspired in violation of antitrust laws to allow the league to reach exclusive deals with broadcast partners for the right to air out-of-market games. According to multiple class action complaints over the issue, NFL teams would compete against each other in this market absent the bundling of those rights, possibly through individual online streams of games.

Under the current regime, viewers must buy Sunday Ticket to watch games outside of their home market. In 2022, the NFL struck a deal with Google’s YouTube for the rights, which used to be held by DirecTV.

A jury trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 22, with damages estimated at $6.1 billion. The class action seeks an order barring further violations of antitrust law, which could bar the NFL from exclusively offering out-of-market games to a single provider.

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More On AI and Alleged Copyright Law Violations

On the front of more challenges to AI and copyright violations via litigation and legislative scrutiny are these articles as follow.

This matter grows ever more complicated. Ever since Facebook and Google (which even had a Google news feed on Android phones!) strived to become news organizations by 2015, they aided and abetted an exponential number of false narratives well beyond the likes of 4Chan, Reddit, et cetera as Zuckerberg et al claimed that Facebook or Google were legally protected not to be liable like news organizations.

Ever since 2017, I’ve been against Big Tech reporting news UNLESS

  1. companies disclose explicitly that they are reporting news and
  2. companies forego any additional protections against libel or slander like any other entity or anybody else just because they are a “technology company.”

Under intellectual property laws, facts aren’t copyrightable. This means that journalists are free to report common details without infringing on any copyrights as long as they aren’t copying excerpts word for word. It’s among the reasons that the Times may face an uphill battle in its suit against OpenAI, though the production of evidence of ChatGPT generating verbatim responses of its articles may get it over the hump.

And while AI companies have yet to argue in court that they can claim immunity under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which has historically afforded tech firms significant legal protection from liability as third-party publishers, it remains a battleground for copyright issues surrounding generative AI. Chamber of Progress, a tech industry coalition whose members include Amazon, Apple and Meta, argued in filings to the copyright office that big tech’s favorite legal shield should be interpreted to immunize firms from infringement claims.

As one example of rampant abuse, an obscure disclaimer hidden somewhere in the headline or on a YouTube channel’s page is not anywhere near to close enough to reining in such abuse of the likeness of others.

Note that such antics are distinguished from legally-protected parody, such as via imitation or impersonation by an actor or comedian.

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers have introduced a long-awaited bill to prohibit the publication and distribution of unauthorized digital replicas, including deepfakes and voice clones.

If signed into law, the proposal, called the No AI Fraud Act, could curb a growing trend of individuals and businesses creating AI-recorded tracks using artists’ voices and deceptive ads in which it appears a performer is endorsing a product. In the absence of a federal right of publicity law, unions and trade groups in Hollywood have been lobbying for legislation requiring individuals’ consent to use their voice and likeness.

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Amazon Boosts Advertising Revenue, Yet Increases Layoffs In January 2024

This news reminds of an adage of life on the streets:
“First you get 'em hooked, then you have them for however much you want 'em.”

The lyrics of Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” come to mind
(not safe to play at work or generally in public, great composition, instruments, lyrics, and song all-around!).

This move by Amazon is scheduled the very same week as for Netflix via T-Mobile subscribers to switch promotional subscriptions to the ad-supported format - what are the chances!
:unamused:

Later this month the tech giant will flip a switch and turn on ads for hundred of millions of Prime Video users (giving them the option of paying an extra $3 per month to remove them). But as excited as the ad industry is for Prime Video’s entertainment programming to get adds, Amazon’s sports programming has been in the ad business for years.

Excuse the rest of the article when it reads more like a media release than reporting of news by the author.

Meanwhile, well look at this news at Amazon already in 2024 to add to the list of early tech layoffs for 2024.

It is not clear how this week’s cuts will impact those divisions, or where they are focused.

They also come just before Amazon is set to turn on ads for Prime Video, requiring users to pay an extra $3 per month to avoid them. The move is estimated to instantly deliver billions of dollars in incremental revenue to the division.

The cuts come after Amazon laid off more than 25,000 employees last year. Prime Video and Amazon MGM also faced cuts in early 2023.

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More Amazon Investment In Live Sports

This looks like the road map to a bigger investment and solution in the coming years for the affected NBA, NHL, and MLB markets, which comes via a hefty legal settlement by DSG plus a sizeable minority investment by Amazon.

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The Taylor Swift Peacock Money Grab, January 2024

We just experienced it last weekend. Sure there were record numbers. There were also record numbers of complaints about the lousy Peacock app and production.

Even Pirate Sports Network and our crew took on heavy water as compared to a regular NFL production for primarily broadcast or cable and simulcast to streaming.

I have no doubt the NFL and Comcast just rushed for the money now before the looming litigation, which has already been in progress.

The production was by DESIGN that Taylor Swift showed up as well. There’s no telling what she got out of it beyond seeing her boyfriend play and a free ticket and hospitality in a corporate suite with initially a lousy view through fogged windows, for she paid to be there to juice the ratings for Comcast.

As noted above, lest you think the NFL is off the hook here and lest you think Comcast can just expand easily with multiple such playoff pay-per-views, think again.

Here’s another article on a current antitrust case against the NFL for a class action lawsuit for the NFL Sunday Ticket. The case is already nine years old, and the NFL’s attempt to have the case dismissed on 11 Jan 2024, was DENIED. Wow, WHAT TIMING given the Peacock money grab you don’t say!

It’s still early in the legal respect with regards to the NFL’s ability and rights to gouge mass audiences with what are effectively disguised pay-per-views even as having a broadcast antitrust exemption.

Go figure, there was even a research paper written by law student Stephen James, now a practicing attorney, in 2021 about the matter of the streaming era and the NFL’s antitrust exemption:

All of the above were before a Congressman from New York kicked up a fuss about the matter, as no doubt will others given the vast public interest in the matter front-and-center given this ploy during a playoff game.

Or, as I stated above, instead of NFL pigs being slaughtered in court and via the court of public opinion, they could simply just put the games on regular channels AND like on CBS and ABC, have them simulcast to Paramount+ and ESPN+ respectively, and certainly continue to make record money.

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Good article but there is one piece of false information. Peacock is NOT the biggest player in the space of streaming live sports. Comcast has 32 million subscribers for internet as noted, no telling how far down from the peak after losing vast market share since especially 2021 via cord cutting, but those 32M are NOT ALL customers for Peacock plus also not all those tallied subscriptions are paid subscriptions either.

Expect Comcast to juice those reported “subscription” numbers ahead of the Olympics without disclosure of just how many are actually paid and active subscriptions by the time of reporting to the public.

Read through the rest and note how Paramount+ is a far bigger player in the space with subscribers, though in overall viewing beyond sports indeed Peacock was slightly ahead in market share the last statistics posted way above, but this article is about SPORTS rights and Peacock is behind ESPN+ and Paramount+ for rights to live sports.

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Some karma here after the report months ago as noted above that not only had Sports Illustrated been using AI authors for articles on a widespread basis, otherwise a common industry practice, but also created fake profiles of real authors when doing so and then were caught in their utter hubris in mass deceit.

These layoffs are not the fault of the employees, for I feel for them.

On the other hand for the executives and senior management, following the two executives sent away in the aftermath of the scandal by the new owner who was not very amused about the “work” performed by employees of his firm, well don’t let your asses hit the door on your way out into the cold wind, ice, and snow. Get lost.

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Netflix and Net Neutrality USA

I think it’s quite telling that also this matter did not come up sooner in the Biden Presidency for rules rolled back in 2017 during the Trump Presidency, which were originally implemented in 2010 by President Obama in a different world when only YouTube and Hulu (and maybe Vimeo) were common streaming video apps. With limited ABC content, Hulu was crap back then too as I remember. I didn’t know anybody who paid for it.

At stake is to have the internet treated again the same as any public utility for equal access for all no matter what app is used, which of course it IS though a few disagree.

For example:

The Netherlands’ handling of net neutrality rules may be instructive. In 2016, a Dutch ISP launched an online content service but was unable to grant preferential treatment under new open internet protections. Because of these rules, the company chose to double the size of its data caps, in part, to accommodate its new video offering. If it was allowed to favor its own service, it may have wielded its market power to encourage consumers to subscribe to its offering instead of those of competitors.

Go Netflix 2024 and get it right, President Biden.

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I really want to see the chaos that comes out of a courtroom defeat of the NFL. That will be insane if the different teams are selling their own streaming packages - or groups of the less popular teams start selling their bundles to the public at large, there are so many ways that this thing could go.

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Yeah totally agree with you on this one - I think that we both probably agree that there are a handful of us on this forum that way more knowledgeable than a lot of people writing about this topic.

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Speaking of antitrust scrutiny for media firms, I have to wonder here as well now.

I don’t think much scrutiny is needed here when such partnership between two large RSNs in New York City does not pass the duck test and is collusion.

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Part of me believes that the NFL, as well as Comcast, know well what is coming with regulation via antitrust and other legal concerns, but so long as the regulation is not clear, on with the Taylor Swift money grabs on a pay-per-view and the like.

For those who always chime in with the ubiquitous, “Well it’s only $5.99 per month, what’s the big deal?” argument, generally ignoring or apathetic of the bigger picture that such is by a cable company already charging for associated programming (i.e. USA Network for Premier League) unlike an over-the-air channel, I ask them,

“Wait. If it’s such a good deal, 1) Have you signed up already for Peacock to watch all those other shows on their streaming platform? If not before, why not?” and 2) Why have most others not signed up for crappy Peacock, including Comcast customers actually paying for Peacock beyond free trials and complimentary subscriptions? Hmmm…?"

Nobody has answered those questions with much but repeating the line of the price, but perhaps there’s some obsessed fan of old and long-tired NBC shows like “The Office” out there and the like.

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Another tiny contribution

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Given the draw of WWE, this news also explains the timing of the recent push in Washington by Netflix for net neutrality.

Demand for bandwidth spikes during live events, as Netflix otherwise continues to profit and grow all the same.

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