Within a couple of hours of the Chelsea versus Manchester United match concluding, there were 35 videos on YouTube featuring highlights of the game. By the time you read this article, that number will have increased considerably — and that doesn’t even include the hundreds of other video sites that are similar to You Tube.
I think it’s time for the Premier League to admit defeat in the fight against sites that illegally show Premier League video highlights. There’s no way on earth that NetResult, the company that the Premier League hired to protect the rights of license holders, can police the thousands of fans around the world who are distributing the highlights of these videos.
Saturday’s match is a perfect example. The biggest match of the season has concluded between Chelsea and Man United. A massive controversial decision has resulted in a penalty, but where can fans legally go online to watch the replay over and over again? In the United States, Fox Soccer Channel owns the rights to highlights, but even if I visit their very jumbled and disorganized Premier League page, I’m unable to find what I’m looking for. As a result, my first destination is always 101 Great Goals.
It’s time for the Premier League to re-evaluate its policy on its Internet video highlights. The license holders in their respective countries can’t be getting much value or traffic from the highlights. The fans can’t be happy with what’s available. And, most importantly, the Premier League is missing out on a golden opportunity to market its product around the world — whether it’s on its website or through legal content providers such as Hulu, Joost or iTunes.
Broadband is crucial to the future of television. With technological enhancements improving bandwidth speeds, more and more content will be available online (even in HD). It’s important that the Premier League gets it act together regarding online rights. Off the field, it’s one of the very few areas where the league fails. The product is good. The league just needs to do a better job at marketing it online.