Last year, CBS and Turner Sports allowed those with the Apple iPhone
and Apple iPad
to catch the action of March Madness for free
. This year, Android owners
can join in on the fun. But CBS and Turner are charging for the service this year, asking viewers to pay $3.99 to catch the action. This is not the first time that fans of NCAA Men's Basketball had to pay for streaming video to a mobile device. Back in 2009, before it split the cost of an NCAA T.V. deal with Turner, CBS charged Apple iPhone users $4.99 to have the tournament action streamed to their phone.
Not free for mobile viewers this year
You can't fault CBS and Turner for trying to recoup part of the 14-year, $10.8 billion broadcast license
that the duo entered into with the NCAA in 2010. Streaming of sporting events to mobile devices is still in its infancy and it is hard to see how the networks can cover the cost of obtaining rights to these events without charging mobile device owners for the privilege of viewing the action. Last year when the streaming was free, usage across platforms for early-round games was as high as 3 million unique users daily