If you weren’t grandfathered into an unlimited 3G data plan, then you probably spend each minute on your cellphone judiciously deciding what to spend your data on before you reach your limit. It sucks for users, and it sucks for content providers who want you to stream more videos and consume more content.
ESPN is trying to make thing better for consumers though by striking a deal with the carriers to subsidize your data plan so you can watch more sports video and analysis on your smartphone without it costing you anything against your data plan.
The WSJ reports that ESPN has been in talks with at least one major U.S. carrier about subsidizing users’ data. One potential scenario that ESPN is trying to explore is the company would pay a carrier to guarantee that people viewing ESPN mobile content wouldn’t have that usage counted toward their monthly data cap.
The report stresses that a deal isn’t imminent, however, it could be very beneficial to both sides. ESPN would be able to have more people view its mobile content and make money off the ads, whereas the carriers could generate new revenue without raising prices.
The carriers’ continued desire to raise prices and place caps on data has some content providers worried that it’s restricting the potential growth of their business. ESPN might also seek to compensate carriers by sharing advertising revenue with them. The economics of the deal still need to be worked out, but it looks like there’s never been a better time to have an addiction to SportsCenter.