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UFC 82 on Yahoo! PPV

Like many of us in the online MMA world, Adam Swift of MMA Payout got the Yahoo PPV of UFC 82 for free. Unlike the BE crew, he didn't just take the PPV and write nothing about it, he wrote a thoughtful commentary:

At the risk of sounding like a cheap shill whose opinion was bought and sold for $44.95, the quality of the feed was impeccable and the experience was surprisingly painless. Outside of the fact that I was unable to take advantage of my full television screen, which I presume was the result of own ineptitude and/or personal technological limitations, there was no discernible difference between the standard pay-per-view experience and the Yahoo! pay-per-view experience.

That's the good news. and I must say I agree, my experience was easy and seamless too. But here's the bad news:

That said, there is also no discernible benefit to buying the online version, at least for now. Yahoo! touted that the replay is available for 24 hours following its conclusion and it can be viewed by fight/chapter, but noticeably missing is the greatest promise of internet pay-per-view, a lower price tag.

Swift goes on to explain the roadblocks between the UFC/Yahoo! alliance and cheap PPV:

But that will not happen anytime soon because Zuffa (or WWE or HBO Boxing) simply cannot risk raising the ire of the traditional television pay-per-view industry by aggressively driving consumers online with more attractive price points and a value added product. While the balance of power is shifting, the online revolution is simply not mature enough to sustain the company.

The traditional pay-per-view industry would retaliate against any move that threatened to cannibalize it. The UFC product could be deemphasized by cable and satellite distributors with dire results for Zuffa's bottom line. Put simply, the current dominant pay-per-view distributors could literally run Zuffa out of business by cutting the marketing, specifically direct targeted marketing, and placement of UFC events before Zuffa could successfully convert its audience online.

But even if that's impossible, Swift still has a few ideas that could make the Yahoo! PPV a compelling alternative for UFC fans in the short term:

So if prices cannot be reduced, at least in the near term, what can Yahoo! offer that traditional pay-per-view cannot or will not? That is the (multi) million dollar question and one that the online world is waiting for the answer to.

One likely value added feature is exclusive content in the form of extra fights that cannot be shown on cable/satellite because of maximum time commitments. Yahoo!'s greatest advantage as a distributor might be its unlimited platform, in terms of time, allowing it to provide virtually endless extra content. It remains to be seen what other tricks Yahoo! may have up its sleeve in the pending pay-per-view arms race.

That to me is the ticket, UFC on Demand kind of sucks frankly because you have to wait a day (at least) for the undercard fights and then you don't get the main event fights until they get around to adding them months later, if ever.