Convergence. The New Primetime Sport.

Rogers Sportsnet

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A little while ago, I had a few minutes, turned off the laptop and turned on the TV. Not something I do often but I decided to kick it old school. Why not? Sportsnet was on.

 

The show was Bob McCown’s Primetime Sports so I was actually watching a RADIO show from a Rogers owned radio station re-purposed as a TV product by Rogers to air on a Rogers owned TV network. Guess what they were talking about? Yup. The Toronto Blue Jays. Also owned by Rogers. And the cable that was serving the content? You guessed it. Naturally, when they cut to commercial break, the first spot was for Rogers Wireless. Ted would be so proud.

 

To recap:

 

I was paying for Rogers cable.
So I could I watch a Rogers owned radio program.
Re-purposed and produced for TV by Rogers.
To air on a Rogers owned network.
So they could discuss a sports team owned by Rogers.
That featured advertising for Rogers products.
All being sent through a PVR rented from the Mother Ship.

 

Is this evil or is this just old fashioned good business?

 

I know I may be in the minority here but I don’t think Rogers is evil. Not even close. Do I bitch about them? Of course. Who doesn’t? But what’s the difference between controlling our local content and Apple selling us a phone that connects to an app store, a music library, and a movie rental catalogue, and that synchs with a tablet, a web service, and laptop that almost exclusively features Apple software? I know, I know.. good service.

 

Bad service doesn’t make them evil, though. It just gives us a choice.

 

Capitalism is the purest form of democracy. If you don’t like their stations, their magazines, their sport teams, or their wireless plans, you have a choice. You can cast your vote by not buying. There are three new wireless carriers who all offer better deals and, presumably, better service. If enough people move, I can guarantee that things will improve.

 

Sadly, Canadians seem to be in an abusive relationship with many big institutions. We bitch and moan but we stay. I think that says more about us than it does about them.

 

So tune out. Stop watching. Start a movement. Or stay and live with it. The choice is yours.

4 Comments

  1. Jason

    Then riddle me this, Mr. Tite: How can I vote with my dollar when they own the only professional baseball team in all of Canada? OK, yes, I do have a choice when it comes to cellular, radio, tv or cable providers, but I do not have that same choice when it comes to baseball. Fine. I guess if I REALLY want to vote against Rogers with my dollar I’ll become a fan of another sport. Say, soccer. Or basketball. Or hockey. Well, if Rogers has its way in the near future, they will be allowed to buy all three of those pro sports teams (plus an AHL affiliate) from MLSE for a billion-some dollars. Once that happens, I will be forced to feed the empire any time I want to enjoy some sports. And I have to imagine since they already own the building and the other team that plays in it, acquiring the football team must be in their sights by now.And THAT is why I believe they are evil. Not because they are good capitalists, but because they are greedy capitalists that don’t know (or care) how or when to stop “capitalizing”. It’s not enough for them to own half of the media outlets in town and 4/5 of the sports teams they report on, but they don’t even bother to take a reasonable chunk of their profits to improve their service. Now that’s evil.

  2. Ron Tite

    Totally valid points. I guess that’s like just agreeing that the Leafs suck and there’s nothing we can do about it. If people still fill the building, where’s the motivation to improve? That being said, I think they are making the right moves with the Jays and look forward to a team that actually wins. They’re certainly in better shape than any of the MLSE franchises. The system is designed to satisfy shareholders. And if I’m someone who owns the stock in my RRSP and want to make as much as I can from that, aren’t I guilty of the same thing? I can’t remember the last time someone said, “No, no.. I have enough money saved for retirement. I don’t need any more.” Keeping the cash and not improving service? It’s not evil. It’s bad business. And they SHOULD pay for that. It’s in our hands. I feel your pain. Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. Jason Thomas

    I had never heard anyone say they don’t need more money for retirement, either. Until I read this:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/sports/baseball/27meche.htmlWow.The truth is, though, it’s a tricky balance between doing what’s best for your shareholders and doing what’s best for your customers. It gets especially tangled when each wants different things, and still more so when the shareholders and customers are one in the same. Ouch, my brain hurts.I’m curious now: How is it in our hands to make Rogers spend some of their profits on improving their service? The only option I see is to quit using their service to send them a message. But then that would only help the people who chose to stay with them, wouldn’t it?

  4. Ron Tite

    Leave it to Gil Meche to make look like a fool, huh? Hmm… You know you’ve made enough money when… ; )I agree. It IS tricky. I’d like to think that, within reason, doing what’s right for your customers should be good for your shareholders, too. Good customer service should always win out. Those that completely ignore it SHOULD go out of business. It’s not our responsibility to improve their business but it is our responsibility to look after our own lives and minimize the hassles we endure. Last year, Euro RSCG did a global study (including Canada) and the majority of consumers simply want to do business with brands that share their values. But unless we act, we’re just making things difficult for ourselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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