What I Learned from buying an NFL Gamepass

I can’t recall a week where some content provider didn’t raise my hackles by geo-blocking content.

Every. Single. Week.

This week, it was the venerable BBC. Even though I pay the license fee that funds the BBC (ergo, paid for BBC content already), I still can’t watch BBC iPlayer in Spain where I’m currently on holiday. I can’t even stream the international version of BBC News 24.

Then the rest of the time, various US-based content providers block things such as Jon Olivers Last Week Tonight, or The Daily Show…. etc.

(others, like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, post short clips and excerpts – which leave you really wanting to watch the full show)

Now. I’m an NFL fan in general (and SeaHawks in particular). The BBC and Channel 4 don’t show the games anymore. And Sky (the satelite broadcaster) is inconvienent to stream to any device other than your set-top box.

(to be fair to Sky, I can stream thier internaltional news channel)

Does the NFL, with content worth billions, care where I am? No. I can stream every game live here in Spain with my AppleTV and my NFL Gamepass that I paid in blood for.

For that matter, does the AppleTv care where I am? No I can stream all my iTunes content.

So. Why can’t all content be like this? I suspect its because content licensing is still in the dark ages of the 20th century – deals were inked before the full forces of the internet were unleashed, or perhaps inked after that fact, but without fully understanding the full scope of the changes being wrought.

Is advertising a part of this puzzle? Theres no reason for ad-supported content not to continue to be ad-supported no matter where its being shown – and show the relevant advertising for that geolocation. This is, after all, how it happens now in the traditonal media – When I’m watching Big Bang Theory on my local TV UK station- I get local ads.

This mnight be a contraversial statement to make, but I don’t mind ads because I know that the ads are helping pay for the content. (What I do mind is Channel 4 showing me 4 minutes of pre-roll ads and 4 minutes of ads at the half)

The point is that content is still not taking full advatange of the digital age – you can’t take full advantage of the digitial age and the digital market place, while trying to impose traditional restrictions and mores on that marketplace.

I’m not calling on content to be free (or be fleeced for that content), but let us stream content here, there and everywhere. If the NFL can do it, anyone can.

The revolution will not only be televised, tweeted, blogged, and instagrammed, but also streamed.