September 27, 2006 4:32 PM PDT

Pro baseball pulls podcast from iTunes

Major League Baseball has taken its podcasts off Apple Computer's iTunes Store, making them exclusively available through its own Web site, MLB.com.

The league voluntarily removed its podcasts--mostly game recaps--from the iTunes Store in an effort to gain autonomy over its promotion and distribution, MLB Advance Media spokesman Jim Gallagher said, affirming information first reported in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

The league doesn't expect its decision will result in a significant loss for either party. Neither one charges for podcast downloads and the league estimates its site was already the source of three-quarters of its baseball podcasts.

MLB Advance Media chief executive Bob Bowman insisted that there are no hard feelings between the two, according to the Journal story, but the podcast-pulling may nevertheless have repercussions for other media outlets that offer free content on the iTunes Store

Jupiter Research analyst David Card said this is by no means an unusual move on the part of the league's online division, which "is very aggressive about managing its own content...It's not particularly surprising that they want to be the primary distribution channel for their own stuff."

An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

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5 comments

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Stupid Decision
iTunes is an additional free channel. Seems like a stupid decision on the part of MLB. How many people could care less about mlb.com but use iTunes?

But isn't Bud Selig, the All-Star Tie Game Decider himself, still leading MLB? IF so, then it all makes sense.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
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Read before you post
"the league estimates its site was already the source of three-quarters of its baseball podcasts."

That means 3 out of 4 were already getting their baseball podcasts from mlb.com. It seems those interested in baseball podcasts could care less about itunes but use mlb.com.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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Makes Perfect sense
The podcasts are not the product; they are the hook used to draw customers. The product is the MLB-related merchandise and services for sale at MLB.com.Controlling the freebies is a way to control the customer relationship.

Pulling the podcasts makes perfect business sense because you want people to get them straight from the source and in the process see what else the site offers.

As the article notes you should expect more free content to be pulled from the generic stores because the real value to the producer (be it MLB baseball, CBS, or NBC) is in drawing the customer to their venue (website, tv channel, etc) so putting those things on iTunes or Amazon or wherever serves no purpose, unless they are being paid to do so. (Like the various deals with YouTube).

Given Apple's deep ties to Disney, they can no longer expect content providers to give them any more free rides. There is value in those freebiews so you either pay for it or watch it go away.
Posted by -fjtorres- (226 comments )
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