Is News International's acquisition of the rights to Premier League mobile and internet clips really significant after all?
Last week, on first hearing the news, I wrote that News International's coup would kick newspaper rivals into touch. And I see that my colleague, Mark Sweney, also heralds the initiative by NI's chief executive Mike Darcey.
He reports that Rupert Murdoch was cockahoop, tweeting: "Goal!" and that former NI chief, Les Hinton, took to Twitter as well, calling it a "game-changer."
Well, I'm not seeking to rain on their parade. But I am having second thoughts about whether obtaining the rights will, as I originally suspected, lead to a big boost in traffic for The Sun (and a consequent loss for other newspaper sites).
It appears that watching live football online is easier than I realised. My first eye-opener was a comment to my blog by 82digger82 in which he/she pointed to Sopcast, a peer-to-peer (P2P) software application that appears to be based in China.
I couldn't download the Mac version, but a friend using a PC managed the trick. He said the result wasn't perfect - reminding him somewhat of the dodgy quality in the days of internet dial-up - but he was pleasantly surprised all the same.
By chance, another friend unable to join me at the Brighton vs Arsenal match on Saturday due to a ticket hitch, managed to watch the whole game on his lap-top on another site, First Row Sports.
He had to try three links until he found one that worked but reported that, unlike most streaming sites, it worked without a hitch. So he simply turned down the sound and switched on Radio 5 Live, which made regular visits to the game, especially during the key goal-scoring moments. It wasn't perfect but better than nothing.
Another commenter to my blog, MatSnow, wrote:
"Live televised Prem football is a war that will increasingly be fought by digital technicians, not lawyers, and I suspect that the pirates will win hands down."
I am not supporting piracy. But the cross-frontier marketing of Premier League football overlooks the fact that, on the net, there are no frontiers. So NI's move may, after all, not be successful as I first thought.
PS: Brighton should have won by the way.