updated 10:50 am EDT, Wed September 27, 2006
MLB pulls iTunes podcasts
Major League Baseball's internet arm has withdrawn podcast clips of baseball games from Apple's iTunes Music Store to increase its control over how games are displayed online. Apple will likely see little to no effect financially as a result of the games removal, but the move shows the unease that some digital content providers have with Apple's growing digital media presence, according to the Wall Street Journal. The league last week asked that Apple remove all promotions for its podcasts from iTunes, according to chief executive of Major League Baseball Advance Media's internet arm Bob Bowman. The executive said the decision was influenced by the league's lack of control in promoting its podcasts on iTunes, and that Apple declined a request to grant Major League Baseball podcasts better visibility on its iTunes service.
Apple also refused to give the league control over where promotions for its podcasts would appear on iTunes, resulting in league content displayed adjacent to podcasts from individual baseball fans, according to the report.
"That may sound immaterial, but again the brand is very important to us," said Bowman.
The league serves up roughly 75 percent of its 40,000 to 50,000 podcast downloads from its own website, making the decision to pull its podcasts from Apple's iTunes less inhibiting. The league hopes the remaining 25 percent who formerly used iTunes to download its podcasts will begin downloading baseball podcasts through its own website. Additionally, the league is increasing the amount of free content available for iPod owners, including new "clincher" videos which will display condensed versions major-league teams seizing positions in the playoffs.
"We respect Apple and iTunes -- we all carry iPods ourselves -- but we think, in the long run, our fans will be better served on MLB.com," Bowman said.