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An Interview with MLB.TV

A random Tuesday off-day is the perfect venue to try out my new feature series, McCovey Chronicles News Magazine. It's where I'll try to do serious interviews with serious people. I hope this works. It also prevents me from mentioning yesterday's game, which didn't happen.

So without further ado, my interview with John Cocteauson, V.P. of Blackouts for MLB Advanced Media is after the jump.

McCovey Chronicles: Thanks for taking the time, Mr. Cocteauson. No problem.

McC: I was hoping you could shed some light on some of the blackout restrictions for For example, I understand you can't get Giants games in Hawaii?

MLB: Oh, good gracious, of course not. That's home turf for the Giants.

McC: There isn't a television station that carries the Giants in Hawaii.

MLB: But someone purchased the Giants' television rights for Hawaii.

McC: Who?

MLB: Like...some guy.

McC: Someone spent thousands, if not millions, for the right to broadcast Giants games in Hawaii, but they're not actually broadcasting them? And that's why you won't accept money from people in Hawaii who actually want to watch Giants games?

MLB: Look, we're not here to live in the past.

McC: But this is the pres...

MLB: And how much revenue would we lose from people who were going to hop a plane from Hawaii and catch a live game in San Francisco, but said, "Hey, I can get this on my computer for a substantial fee"? Millions. And the under-ocean light rail industry is a burgeoning one, my friend. It'll be here in no time.

McC: That doesn't seem especially realistic, though. And I'm still confused as to...

MLB: What is Hawaii, anyways? A freak state, that's what. Not even connected. I'll give Alaska a pass, because they're attached to Canada, and that's kind of like a mini-America, but Hawaii? Water-locked freaks. Do they even have baseball? Jury's out, man. Let's focus on the millions of Americans who are perfectly satsified with

McC: Uh, ok. I work in an office a few miles from AT&T Park, and I wanted to watch the Giants/Dodgers game on Monday, but it was blacked out on Could you elaborate on your blackout policies?

MLB: Unfortunately, local blackout restrictions are in place. We don't want to take business away from local television arrangements.

McC: I didn't have access to a television, though. I work in an office. The only way I could watch the game was on my computer. Who benefits with a blackout?

MLB: Local television networks, for one.

McC: But I didn't use their product or service. I couldn't. Wouldn't it make more sense to track the IPs of the people who log into from within the broadcast territory, and share pieces of that revenue with the local networks? People aren't watching games on computers because they're choosing to. If there's an accessible TV, that's where they'll watch the game. If there isn't an accessible TV, wouldn't it be a good thing that there's another way for people to tune in?

MLB: It's complicated.

McC: Just so I have this clear: You're saying that I can't pay to watch a game on a signal that's broadcast to an electronic box, as that would interfere with the business interests of corporations who want me to watch signals that are broadcast to electronic boxes?

MLB: There are ads to deal with, my friend. What are we going to do, show the local commercials on the internet?

McC: Absolutely. Play the TV feed as is. I'll pay you to watch.

MLB: Then you'll just do something else on the internet while the commercials play.

McC: But I already flip around to different channels when I watch it on TV.

MLB: Look, we're not here to live in the past.

McC: You already have this arrangement with Gameday Audio, though. I pay, and you give me the radio broadcast, local commercials and all.

MLB: Apples and oranges. I don't want to get all technical, but radio is sound-based, and television is sight-based. Totally different.

McC: Both broadcast play-by-play accounts of baseball games, using advertising revenues to make money. How are they different for the purposes of blackout discussions? Why are you able to give me radio broadcasts in exchange for money, but you're unable to give me television broadcasts in exchange for money. Look, I'll pay you per game. There are, like, ten or twenty games for which I'm unable to get to a TV each year. I'll pay you $2 for each one. Could there maybe be two tiers of One for people who don't want in-market broadcasts, and one for people who do? I'll pay extra each year. Please, take my money.

MLB: You're spunky, kid. You've got moxie. I like that. But you have the business sense of an Otter Pop. Why would we accept money for a service and share that money with the companies we're already partnered with? The only thing that we'd accomplish is that their advertisers might reach more potential customers, which then might increase advertising rates. I'm trying to find a silver lining here, but I'm coming up short.

McC: (holding fistfuls of cash) For the love of all that is holy, please take my money in exchange for your product.

MLB: Well, you've convinced me. I'll just walk over and take your c...(throws smoke bomb)

McC: *cough* *cough*

MLB: Try and give your money to some other sucker, you charlatan.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of McCovey Chronicles News Magazine. Tune in next week when we interview someone else who doesn't exist.