May 5, 2015

The Fight of the Century: Cable Versus Internet


The Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match from last weekend has been deemed the richest fight ever, with estimates hovering around $500 million earned revenue.

Even more exciting? Free streaming via Periscope (A Twitter-owned video streaming app) and Meerkat (a competitor) was available for the fight. At one point during the fight, Meerkat claimed around 1,500 people streamed the fight from its platform, which is effectively $150,000 that DIDN’T go to HBO, and Periscope claimed another 6,000 people watching – yet another $600,000 that HBO missed out on.

With this much cash in the game, it’s hard to believe that media conglomerates would let that revenue loss slide, and some definitely didn’t: Periscope removed 30 streams after rights-holder complaints. Going forward, in the battle for content, who will win out? Will we forever be at the mercy of media giants? Or will scrappy social media platforms deliver us the content we want, when we want it, for relatively cheaper prices (if not totally free)?

To be clear, I subscribe to HBO and Showtime, I don’t tweet or use Facebook, but the idea of me being able to stream something that usually costs $100 is thrilling. At least I have the choice to pay or not, and it’s going to make the media giants do some serious rethinking about how they broadcast and what they charge.

At least I’d like to think so. If not, well I guess I’m gonna have to learn how to tweet, right HBO?

(Photo: Meerkat App and Periscope App by flickr user Anthony Quintano via Attribution 2.0 License)