Monday, June 14, 2010

A crack in the wall: Xbox Live gets ESPN3.com

Earlier today, Microsoft made a number of Xbox-related announcements, including that ESPN will be making ESPN3.com available as part of annual Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, which cost $50/year. When I first heard the announcement, I thought that it referred to on-demand sports events that had already taken place, but ESPN3.com provides more than 3,500 live sporting events each year in the U.S.

There's a fairly large community of cable subscribers who subscribe mainly to get ESPN. If they can get ESPN3.com, plus Netflix and other services, through their Xbox 360s, they may drop their cable subscriptions (they'll still need cable or DSL for high-speed internet) and use a combination of Xbox Gold and over-the-air broadcasts. Though small, this is a crack in the cable operators' ability to keep control of programming.
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