osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Link Harvest: MLB Network and Cable: Apparently, the Solution To Extortion Is To Pay Up.

This piece in Bloomberg's describes how the Major League Baseball network "learned" from NFL's "mistakes." Rather than fight and negotiate with the largest providers for carriage, MLB simply gave Comcast and DIRECTV an ownership stake in the MLB network. In gratitude for this voluntary gift, the largest cable provider and largest satellite provider have given MLB favorable carriage terms and access to 50 million subscribers, thus ensuring MLB's survival.

Of course, Congress outlawed this practice in the 1992 Cable Act. It is illegal to demand an equity stake as a condition of carriage, or to discriminate against an unaffiliated network on the basis of affiliation or lack thereof.

Perhaps we should just get rid of RICO, given that the free market offers a similar solution for those required to purchase "insurance" from the "well connected" as a condition of doing business -- without broken legs.

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