Agree with most of your comments.
However LHN seems to be the only network dedicated to a single school
(it's been pointed out that BYU-TV airs a lot of faith-based programming and is not primarily dedicated to showing Cougar sports).
So correct me if I'm wrong, but does LHN suffer from the following:
1. limted content available (since they are drawing on U of Texas athletics, and not a 10/12/14 team conference), AND
2. limited potential subcriber base (U of T graduates, Longhorn fans - admittedly this numbers in the millions, but pales in comparison to alumni / fans of ALL of the Big Ten schools) ?
I must clarify that subscribership is not done on the basis of individual viewers, its' done in terms of shoving it down the throat of everyone subscribing to specific tiers of service
on various cable / satellite providers. So I could see LHN ultimately distributed through out the state of Texas, but can't imagine that ESPN would think it would fly outside the borders of Texas...
I'll hit these one by one.
I have BYUtv and the majority of its programming is faith based so its not a good comparison.
1. Content: The Longhorn Network does regular shows, but does fill quite a few hours with new/original programming and live events which I can break down into a few categories.
Longhorn Extra- 30min Sport Center all about UT and UT players (I like this but don't record it, its the LHN's main filler show that just replays probably about 6 times a day)
Big time events/replays - 2/3 fb games, 12 bb games, 20 baseball games and late night replays/quickplays (like game film with new/original commentary).
Lesser events - women's bb, softball, volley ball, soccer, and tennis/track/swim/dive/rowing
Coach's corner (pre/post) - fb/bb/baseball all do a weekly pregame show called "Game Plan with..." and a post game "Rewind with..."
Press Conferences - self explanatory after game and the weekly
All Access - Edited practice content/behind the scenes
Texas Gameday - Pre/Post gameday events for the big 3 sports
Documentaries - Run Ricky Run, Earl Campbell, DKR, Traditions, etc.
Specials - After national signing day, banquets, roundtable with ex-players, ex-player mini documentaries (did one on Roy Williams when he retired)
Seasons replay/recaps - mostly fb/bb but baseball national titles '02/'05 had one done, 2012 men's golf had one done called "Unmatched" (very well I might add) and I literally just watch 2012 women's volleyball title run last night call "Point".
Classics - Replays of classic games from the big 3 and national/conference title game's from some select others sports
Academic stuff - Alcalde (campus updates) Cactus Cafe (Poetry/Local Music) Film Showcase (student films) Game Changers (Special guest lecture's) Speakers @ UT (Obama/Dalai Lama/Bill Gates) An Hour with...(President/Dean interviews)
Friday Night Lights (TV show) they bought the replay right to this show to fill time when the network first launched but its doesn't play much any more (or at least I don't see it).
So...I don't think content is huge hindrance, and I love the variety of programming (all really well done BTW when you combine all access to your favorite programs and the quality of ESPN production), but yes I could see them sharing the 24/7 network with 1 other school (like the Lone Star Network they tried to get A&M to start with them) but not with 9 schools because its would water down the product too much. I also have the Big Ten network and there is no comparison between the two, the LHN is much higher quality/quantity of programming, and we can assume that the SEC will receive the same treatment so if you like the SEC that's something to look forward to.
2. Subscribers: This is a fair point, and I agree that this is probably the 2nd biggest hindrance to the LHN after ESPN's greed...but people want this in Texas, Time Warner knew it and tried to get in on the ground floor but ESPN said that they wanted too big of a stake and a discount rate for their subscribers. http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Jour ... WC-UT.aspx
Basically the LHN has now made its way onto nearly every non-Big 3 service provider including Charter, Cox, AT&T, Verizon, Grande, Cablevision, Google Fiber, AppleTV and many small distributors in Houston/Gulf Coast, DFW/North Texas, Central Texas (Austin, San Antonio, Waco), and East Texas (Lufkin, Tyler, Longview, Texarkana), and because of this ESPN is playing chicken with the big providers hoping one will crack first and a rush of customers in Texas will switch to it so they haven't lowered their fees which is frustrating many Longhorn fans who don't have it.
As far as nationally, I think it will get put on the sports packages of most providers eventually but this was just a test for ESPN. They really wanted to see if they could make this successful over the next decade and then would try to see if other big programs like USC, tOSU, Mich, Neb, PSU, OU, LSU, Bama, UGA, FL, FSU, UNC, ND would be interested in breaking away from their conference TV deals and trying out this system.
Once the SEC network kicks off expect a similar tactic. That's really all I was saying, I wasn't arguing whether or not the LHN is successful (though it is for UT but could be better and it isn't yet for ESPN).