Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 3, 2011 as U.S. web-streamed TV could change game for Canadian broadcasters The month of March may be associated with spring, the return of baseball, or a weeklong school holiday in some households. For me it is all about “March Madness”, the annual […]
Archive for April 5th, 2011
The month of March may be associated with spring, the return of baseball, or a weeklong school holiday in some households. For me it is all about “March Madness”, the annual U.S. college basketball tournament that wrapped up last night following nearly a month of shocking finishes and Cinderella stories.
The tournament provides hours of overlapping games with television networks zipping between the closest ones. This year’s tournament has been as exciting as ever, yet the coverage has changed. In Canada, TSN purchased the rights to broadcast the tournament and owing to an already packed schedule, proceeded to shift the games between channels.
Initially out of frustration and later out of convenience, I shifted my tournament viewing to the Internet. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which runs the tournament, offered a live streaming Internet feed of all the games as well as an iPhone app that provided good quality video. All the games – including the U.S. commercials – were readily available to Canadians without the need for a cable television subscription or a Canadian broadcaster.
My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that while the use of the Internet to by-pass Canadian broadcasters is still relatively rare – most U.S. programs bundle the broadcast and Internet rights together – the decision to stream the games directly into the Canadian market could soon become the norm.