Cablevision yesterday launched MSG Varsity, a new channel and companion web site devoted to local high school sports. Putting its own authentication spin on the launch, in order to access the MSG site, users must be a Cablevision broadband subscriber (hat tip to paidContent).
Pali analyst Rich Greenfield praised the move, saying it differentiated Cablevision from the competition and added value to existing subs without adding any additional fees (though come on, there are no free lunches when it comes to cable companies). Greenfield also noted how smart it is for the operator to create a channel that can turn your kid into an online/TV star.
MSG isn’t the first sports channel that requires you to subscribe to a particular ISP; ESPN360.com is only available to customers of select broadband providers. And locking up content behind an authenticated paywall is certainly the big TV trend of 2009.