I’ve been thinking about something these past weeks, and two stories from yesterday really brought it all together for me: this new media stuff is going to get damn expensive. You have $9.99 here, $4.95 there, a monthly subscription, service fees, you name it — it all adds up.
I am pretty enthusiastic about CBS streaming local news to cell phones. I like the idea of accessing my local news during times of trouble — what could be more convenient during an earthquake or, heck, a playoff game? But to pay $4.95 a month for the privilege (plus my regular cell charges) strikes me as, well, so not worth it.
Of course, as it turns out, I can’t access the service anyway — it’s only available to Sprint Power Vision subscribers. Exclusivity is another issue entirely, but has to be addressed: intentionally narrowing your customer base may not be the best approach unless you’re selling Maseratis. Local news is, by definition, the most democratic form of television news.
CBS is doing the right thing here and their goal to be the first to stream news in each market is admirable. The cost of entry into the market is negligible — it’s just a matter of repurposing news already available on the web. This is what I believe they call a classic win-win situation.
Except for the consumer. I’ll be honest — I might consider this for $1.95 (better at ninety-nine cents with a corporate sponsor) a month, but when you get up into the five dollar range, local news service starts to compete with all the other dollar here, dollar there charges, and, since I can get news from the radio and Internet and television, it’s only natural for me to wonder if this is another bill I need to pay.