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Major League Baseball pulls podcasts from iTunes

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
The Internet arm of Major League Baseball has pulled podcast clips of its games from Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Store, in a move to exercise greater control over how its games are presented online, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Although the loss of the league's podcasts -- which included primarily audio recaps of games -- is unlikely to have a financial impact on Apple, it shows the unease some providers of digital content have with Apple's growing clout in digital media," wrote the Journal's Nick Wingfield.

"Major League Baseball was one of iTunes' high-profile providers of free podcasts, which are downloadable audio and video programs that work on portable music players such as the iPod."

According to the report (paid subscription required), the league asked Apple to remove all promotions from iTunes for its podcasts last week. The move was reportedly prompted, in part, by the lack of control the league had over how its podcasts were promoted with iTunes.

Bob Bowman, chief executive of Major League Baseball Advance Media, told the Journal that Apple declined to give its podcasts better visibility on the site when the league asked for it. It's reported that Apple does not accept monetary offers for improved placement.

Bowman also said Apple wouldn't give the league a say in where promotions for its podcasts would appear on iTunes, leading to situations in which the league's content was adjacent to podcasts by individual baseball fans.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment on the report.
post #2 of 25
Glad to see Apple's position on this.

The League fails to realize that the directory built into iTunes is only one place that people get the feeds from. The affiliation program allows direct linking to any page on iTunes, therefore the League could've been promoting their own stuff however they wanted.

Third parties would've been doing the same for them.
post #3 of 25
I'm siding against MLB on this. I don't think it is a bad thing to be listed next to fan-based podcasts. Heck, Google returns results where "official" sites are often ranked with fan sites, which is not a problem because I think that sort of system is complementing, not detrimental. I think I might even say that MLB is stuck in the old way of media thinking of trying to control everything.
post #4 of 25
I disagree with both posts. These were being provided to Apple for free. They benefit Apple as well as MLB. Apple must learn to play with its content providers or they will find themselves bereft of any content. Then it will be the fans using iTunes who suffer. These podcasts will end up somewhere else where they will be more appreciated.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

I disagree with both posts. These were being provided to Apple for free. They benefit Apple as well as MLB. Apple must learn to play with its content providers or they will find themselves bereft of any content. Then it will be the fans using iTunes who suffer. These podcasts will end up somewhere else where they will be more appreciated.


I have to agree with the first two posts on this and side with Apple. Having worked in marketing for almost 20 years now I am THRILLED at Apple's decision. Too many good services tend to fall at some point or another due to greed in advertising. Can you imagine an iTunes store where ad placement went to the highest bidder? It happens everywhere. Just go to Google and do a search. If your search contains certain keywords you'll find that you have to sift through a bunch of bogus results simply because they're paying Google to rank them higher based on certain key words. Shoot -- I've even made up words and searched for them in Google. Guess what -- I got a whole list of people who claimed to have "bogus word" in stock and on sale.

Google started out good, but they really have to watch how far they are willing to sell out their accuracy.

If Apple bends over and allows the MLB to call the shots on HOW they're promoted on iTunes and WHERE their promotions go... well... do you really think they're going to be the ONLY ones to do it? Do you realize that if Apple opened the doors to paid placement and advertising that the only podcasts we'd ever be able to easily find would be for major commercial players?

What about Coverville? What about Tiki Bar TV? or any of the audio books by Scott Sigler? Those are produced by people with talent who are no more famous or rich than you or me. Those are three of my favorite podcasts. I personally don't have time to sift through pages and pages and pages of "paid-for-placement" podcasts to find something new and original. I simply don't have the time.

Apple made good on it's promise -- to deliver a method for people to podcast on an equal playing field. It doesn't matter if you're Joe Schmoe in your bedroom recording your thoughts on starving Pugs in Missouri, or if you're Wal-Mart. Equal play. Your podcasting destiny is based on how good your content is, not how much you're willing to pay (or can afford).

Glass raised to Apple for not allowing corruption in -- Another glass raised to Apple for not letting the big music industry run the show -- or the television industry -- or the movie industry -- or any industry. Set the standards and let everyone play equally. Let their content sell itself.

Bravo!!
post #6 of 25
One more reason to hate baseball (as if anyone needed any more).

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibelius

I have to agree with the first two posts on this and side with Apple. Having worked in marketing for almost 20 years now I am THRILLED at Apple's decision. Too many good services tend to fall at some point or another due to greed in advertising. Can you imagine an iTunes store where ad placement went to the highest bidder? It happens everywhere. Just go to Google and do a search. If your search contains certain keywords you'll find that you have to sift through a bunch of bogus results simply because they're paying Google to rank them higher based on certain key words. Shoot -- I've even made up words and searched for them in Google. Guess what -- I got a whole list of people who claimed to have "bogus word" in stock and on sale.

Google started out good, but they really have to watch how far they are willing to sell out their accuracy.

If Apple bends over and allows the MLB to call the shots on HOW they're promoted on iTunes and WHERE their promotions go... well... do you really think they're going to be the ONLY ones to do it? Do you realize that if Apple opened the doors to paid placement and advertising that the only podcasts we'd ever be able to easily find would be for major commercial players?

What about Coverville? What about Tiki Bar TV? or any of the audio books by Scott Sigler? Those are produced by people with talent who are no more famous or rich than you or me. Those are three of my favorite podcasts. I personally don't have time to sift through pages and pages and pages of "paid-for-placement" podcasts to find something new and original. I simply don't have the time.

Apple made good on it's promise -- to deliver a method for people to podcast on an equal playing field. It doesn't matter if you're Joe Schmoe in your bedroom recording your thoughts on starving Pugs in Missouri, or if you're Wal-Mart. Equal play. Your podcasting destiny is based on how good your content is, not how much you're willing to pay (or can afford).

Glass raised to Apple for not allowing corruption in -- Another glass raised to Apple for not letting the big music industry run the show -- or the television industry -- or the movie industry -- or any industry. Set the standards and let everyone play equally. Let their content sell itself.

Bravo!!

Damn straight. Excellent post.
post #8 of 25
Bowman also said Apple wouldn't give the league a say in where promotions for its podcasts would appear on iTunes, leading to situations in which the league's content was adjacent to podcasts by individual baseball fans.

ewww complaining about being next a some "low life fan". How snotty
post #9 of 25
This just in!

Sibelius 1 Melgross 0
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibelius

Just go to Google and do a search. If your search contains certain keywords you'll find that you have to sift through a bunch of bogus results simply because they're paying Google to rank them higher based on certain key words. Shoot -- I've even made up words and searched for them in Google. Guess what -- I got a whole list of people who claimed to have "bogus word" in stock and on sale.

Google started out good, but they really have to watch how far they are willing to sell out their accuracy.

I think you're blowing that out of proportion a bit. There's only 2 or 3 sponsored results, and they're very easy to look over.
post #11 of 25
More power to the players union.
post #12 of 25
They should be shown based on popularity. The more popular they are the easier they are to find. If someone wants to setup a web page to promote a podcast they could do that and drive more people to the podcasts driving up popularity (if it is any good) and it would appear more prominently. Seems like a reasonable solution to me.
post #13 of 25
Very well put Sibelius. I agreed with Apple's stance upon first reading the article, and I believe that you're looking at the situation much that same as Apple. Apple didn't build their loyal customer base by accident. They did it by making decisions like this which truly show forward thinking. Apple is building and growing a brand that people trust and respect. They're not out to make a quick buck like some last-6-months weight loss scheme.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibelius

Just go to Google and do a search. If your search contains certain keywords you'll find that you have to sift through a bunch of bogus results simply because they're paying Google to rank them higher based on certain key words.

Google's paid advertisements are on the right side of the screen, separated from the actual search results on the left.

Google doesn't "sponsor" actual search results—in fact, some companies (like BMW Germany) have been removed from Google because they used SEO techniques against Google's terms.
post #15 of 25
Then again, if you have your own website that is easy to find and is often read by a faithful readership, then iTunes is not really necessary. Just include the Podcast on there and your audience will pay for it if they so want to. Of course adding it to iTunes is a bonus.

These guys understand the first part ( http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/au...cast/index.jsp ), but don't seem to get the second part. Apple is running its own business and should have fair say over what is done in this context. There are plenty of other media outlets in addition. The MLB weren't happy and it sounds like they just threw a fit, because they weren't happy they couldn't influence this media outlet.
post #16 of 25
Here's the email address for comments and feedback about MLB's podcasts:

podcasts@website.mlb.com

I got this from here: MLB.com TO GO
post #17 of 25
And in related news... Professional Hockey goes out on strike.... (crickets)
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post #18 of 25
We can't help it if ASK A NINJA is more popular than baseball. The MLB Podcast was lame anyway. Who has so little free time they can't watch the baseball recap on their local news? Do they really need the podcast? They are probably just blaming Apple for a failed product. Most websites have direct links to their podcast. I've never seen it on the MLB website, and I visit the site all the time.

Thanks Apple for not giving in. Then again, it might not be they WON'T take money for advertising or placement, perhaps it just wasn't enough.
post #19 of 25
[QUOTE=ajmas]Then again, if you have your own website that is easy to find and is often read by a faithful readership, then iTunes is not really necessary. Just include the Podcast on there and your audience will pay for it if they so want to. Of course adding it to iTunes is a bonus.

The benefit of iTunes is that you don't have to use your pipe or allowance of gbs of downloads from your account on your server. You get to off load that onto Apple's servers.

There is also the benefit of people searching for podcasts in iTunes looking for things they are interested in. I found this works better --sometimes-- than trying to google for someone's webpage which has a podcast.

A third benefit is that I can subscribe to a podcast on iTunes where I can't on most websites.
post #20 of 25
This reminds me of how on Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Commander Cisco, who was a baseball fan, would talk about the last World Series where only a couple hundred fans showed up to watch.

The game will not exist in a 100 years.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibelius

I have to agree with the first two posts on this and side with Apple. Having worked in marketing for almost 20 years now I am THRILLED at Apple's decision. Too many good services tend to fall at some point or another due to greed in advertising. Can you imagine an iTunes store where ad placement went to the highest bidder? It happens everywhere. Just go to Google and do a search. If your search contains certain keywords you'll find that you have to sift through a bunch of bogus results simply because they're paying Google to rank them higher based on certain key words. Shoot -- I've even made up words and searched for them in Google. Guess what -- I got a whole list of people who claimed to have "bogus word" in stock and on sale.

Google started out good, but they really have to watch how far they are willing to sell out their accuracy.

If Apple bends over and allows the MLB to call the shots on HOW they're promoted on iTunes and WHERE their promotions go... well... do you really think they're going to be the ONLY ones to do it? Do you realize that if Apple opened the doors to paid placement and advertising that the only podcasts we'd ever be able to easily find would be for major commercial players?

What about Coverville? What about Tiki Bar TV? or any of the audio books by Scott Sigler? Those are produced by people with talent who are no more famous or rich than you or me. Those are three of my favorite podcasts. I personally don't have time to sift through pages and pages and pages of "paid-for-placement" podcasts to find something new and original. I simply don't have the time.

Apple made good on it's promise -- to deliver a method for people to podcast on an equal playing field. It doesn't matter if you're Joe Schmoe in your bedroom recording your thoughts on starving Pugs in Missouri, or if you're Wal-Mart. Equal play. Your podcasting destiny is based on how good your content is, not how much you're willing to pay (or can afford).

Glass raised to Apple for not allowing corruption in -- Another glass raised to Apple for not letting the big music industry run the show -- or the television industry -- or the movie industry -- or any industry. Set the standards and let everyone play equally. Let their content sell itself.

Bravo!!

I want to say this was an awesome post! Glass raised to the newcomer!
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post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay

There's only 2 or 3 sponsored results, and they're very easy to look over.

Yep, unlike the much more numerous uninteresting forum comments that aren't necessarily easy to overlook.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

I disagree with both posts. These were being provided to Apple for free. They benefit Apple as well as MLB. Apple must learn to play with its content providers or they will find themselves bereft of any content. Then it will be the fans using iTunes who suffer. These podcasts will end up somewhere else where they will be more appreciated.

Well, I am assuming that the podcasts will still be available somewhere, and via rss, so....

All this does it make it harder for the uninformed fan to get the MLB podcast on their iPod. But they will still end up on iPods, through iTunes.

(unless they make them protected WMV)
post #24 of 25
Good on Apple for not allowing a content provider to dictate the iTS design.

Bad on Apple for not having better, channel-based navigation of the iTS content catalog (Podcasts & TV shows) with channels, zones, subject-based reviews, review/preview-podcasts and all the stuff TV networks, web-sites and other media delivery operations have been doing so well over the years.

iTS/Front Row is great as a content delivery system but the best way to decide what you want is still to look outside (radio/TV).

McD
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post #25 of 25
bah. let them take their podcasts whereever they want to take them. while i enjoy watching mlb, i don't particularly agree with the way the league is run.

nfl is king anyways.
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