For the NFL Network, they’re only allowing their channel to be on the DISH Network, which most of us don’t have, and therefore most of us can’t watch this week’s Redskins/Bears game, or last week’s Cowboys/Packers game, or possibly the most historical game in NFL history when the Patriots take on the Giants on the last Thursday of the regular season to see if they can go 16-0.
Even though I had to hear Jerry Jones lobby for signing up for the DISH before his Cowboys took the field last Thursday, I have to think this kind of doing business is pissing more people off than it is generating new DISH customers. More importantly, it’s giving us all a sour taste of the NFL network and its new commissioner, turning them from possibly the last sports league that actually cares about its fans into the profit-hungry conglomerate that makes self-centered deals like this.
Then there’s Apple and its iPhone, sacking up with AT&T (at the time Cingular) as the only carrier of service for the new phone. Forget the fact that Apple’s discounting and apologies have taken a huge hit in the public the last few months. The fact that I’d have to possibly change carriers between now and 2011 just to get a cool phone is nothing shy of stupid. Pre-launch, Apple was on the verge of exploding. Why do they enforce these kinds of self-inflicted limiters when they didn’t need it?
In short, it’s cuz of money. More specifically, it’s cuz of money from someone other than their customers.
It’s always tempting to chase money from third-party services because you assume your loyal fans will do just about anything you ask them to. I’ve been a part of such schemes before. I’ve been in favor of them, in fact.
But they don’t work.
The simple principle is that your business should succeed because you’re offering more to your customers. Not by limiting them. Not by offering their loyalty to other “partner” companies. This is where the NFL and the iPhone is falling short, and they’ll keep falling until they change it.