Thursday, August 20, 2009

SEC New Media Policy vs. Tebow Fans

This feels like an ancillary topic -- I would much prefer to be talking about Tebow-related news and analysis -- but given that the SEC's new media policy has been in the news recently and that I am, nominally, an SEC-related blogger, I think I should weigh in.

I would point you to this new post by CNBC's Darren Rovell about the SEC's new new-media policy, which itself riffs off of this morning's front-page story about it in the New York Times.

Rovell's point is a good one: The SEC is creating a policy directed at straw men -- the best SEC bloggers have no interest in taking crappy photos or worrying about video from the stands.

Many are probably not even IN the stands -- they are at home, watching the game on the couch and updating their blogs or Twitter feeds during the game... or enjoying the game, but simultaneously thinking about how they will analyze it for their audience tomorrow.

Sure, there are cynical sites out there that might take lots of photos or video from the game, then try to monetize them on their sites. But fans will see through that -- there's no added-value there. Not when there are better photos and better video available from rights-holders.

Besides: The SEC has already relaxed their policy as it relates to fans -- if you take a (crappy) photo from the stands or a short video clip of you and your buddies celebrating in the stands, then post that to Facebook, don't expect the SEC to come demanding you yank it down.

So I'm not quite sure WHO the new policy is for. As it relates to, even if I go to The Swamp for games this season, my pathetic pictures from the stands will be of little value to you -- maybe entertaining, probably not. And I certainly won't waste my precious game-day experience fiddling with my Flip video camera to try to capture Tebow throwing a TD pass.

Not when I can experience it for myself, then use that experience to inform my post-game analysis of how the game went.

The SEC is probably right to have SOME kind of policy -- with the money they are generating from selling game video rights, they need it. But as we have seen, they are hunting and pecking their way through it.

The way to go is to continue iterating -- set a policy, let fans (and media) respond, change the policy, repeat. There is a natural balance to be reached, I am sure.

Just don't turn this into a "bloggers vs. rights-holders" thing. The good bloggers are much more interested in serving their audience through something they do well -- analysis -- than something someone else does well -- photos and video.

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