ESPN subscriber collapse

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ESPN subscriber collapse

Postby jonathanjoseph » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:51 pm

For those of you wondering how things are changing and/or why ESPN/Fox are against increased contractual demands of any kind with conference expansion I would read the following.

http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-loses-4-million-subscribers-in-past-year-080416



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby wave97 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:24 pm

What options do you think will be in play for Aresco when our GOR is re-negotiated?



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby jonathanjoseph » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:55 pm

Amazon/Youtube/Netflix/etc. There will be plenty of options, it's just not clear at all that ESPN will be one of them.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby greenphantom » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:18 pm

jonathanjoseph wrote:Amazon/Youtube/Netflix/etc. There will be plenty of options, it's just not clear at all that ESPN will be one of them.


I can't say that I'm shedding a tear for ESPN



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby jonathanjoseph » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:35 pm

greenphantom wrote:
jonathanjoseph wrote:Amazon/Youtube/Netflix/etc. There will be plenty of options, it's just not clear at all that ESPN will be one of them.


I can't say that I'm shedding a tear for ESPN


No doubt. This is classic hubris and overreach. The whole "P5" shenanigan is a byproduct of the ESPN era. As that changes, so do all the underlying assumptions. If ESPN can't afford to re-up when the contracts are up (and I think it's 50/50) there will be plenty of interested bidders.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby RobertM320 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:56 pm

Sports TV Ratings @SportsTVRatings
#of households subscribing to ESPN:

July 2015: 92.940M
Feb 2016: 90.988M
June 2016: 89.465M
July 2016: 89.012M
Aug 2016: 88.781M
1:41 PM - 3 Aug 2016



250-400K subscribers a month they're losing.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby jonathanjoseph » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:29 pm

RobertM320 wrote:
Sports TV Ratings @SportsTVRatings
#of households subscribing to ESPN:

July 2015: 92.940M
Feb 2016: 90.988M
June 2016: 89.465M
July 2016: 89.012M
Aug 2016: 88.781M
1:41 PM - 3 Aug 2016



250-400K subscribers a month they're losing.


And it's why you see them panicking about conference expansion. Losing revenue at a fast clip while adding a few hundred million in expenses? That's how business empires fall.

Ironically I finally got rid of DirecTV a few months ago, but picked up ESPN again via Sling on Apple TV. So ESPN is caught between needing to add themselves to the OTT "skinny bundle" to not lose subscribers and the fact that the rise of skinny bundles is what breaks ESPN's business model. ESPN is in quite the pickle.

NFL Network joining Sling also in time for NFL season this year.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby RobertM320 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:25 pm

Pulled this from a post by tps two years ago... So they're down from 100 to under 89m in two years.

Today, cable viewers pay about four times as much for ESPN as for any other non-premium channel, roughly $6 per month, thanks to the network’s near monopoly position. With a few minor exceptions—the NHL, the Olympics, English Premier League—ESPN has a deal with every major sports league. Sports fans want this programming.

Just under 100 million cable homes get ESPN in their cable package; before selling a single commercial unit, the network earns around $7 billion annually in subscriber fees. Still, how many consumers would voluntarily pay for ESPN? In conjunction with a 2004 renegotiation, one cable carrier surveyed its consumers and found that one-third of them would drop their current carrier if it didn’t offer ESPN. For sake of argument, let’s assume that if subscribers could order channels piecemeal, two-thirds would choose not to pay for ESPN.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby DfromCT » Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:39 pm

RobertM320 wrote:Pulled this from a post by tps two years ago... So they're down from 100 to under 89m in two years.

Today, cable viewers pay about four times as much for ESPN as for any other non-premium channel, roughly $6 per month, thanks to the network’s near monopoly position. With a few minor exceptions—the NHL, the Olympics, English Premier League—ESPN has a deal with every major sports league. Sports fans want this programming.

Just under 100 million cable homes get ESPN in their cable package; before selling a single commercial unit, the network earns around $7 billion annually in subscriber fees. Still, how many consumers would voluntarily pay for ESPN? In conjunction with a 2004 renegotiation, one cable carrier surveyed its consumers and found that one-third of them would drop their current carrier if it didn’t offer ESPN. For sake of argument, let’s assume that if subscribers could order channels piecemeal, two-thirds would choose not to pay for ESPN.


I think the 1/3 and 2/3 conclusion is just a bit over the top. ESPN has exclusive rights on a number of sporting events, including particular NFL football games, MLB baseball games, and a whole slew of other events. I would be very, very surprised if the numbers weren't closer to 2/3 choosing to buy ESPN "ala carte" if/when we get to that point and 1/3 not buying. When it comes time to watch an event and you don't have ESPN, a whole lot of folks will ante up. Yes, they're on the ropes and hurting, but they still have a lot of content that sports fans won't live without. Sportscenter is not going to keep subscribers; football and other exclusive coverage events will.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby RobertM320 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:21 pm

That wasn't something TPS wrote, it was something he quoted. I only brought it up to show that they're down from 100M to 89M in two years.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby jonathanjoseph » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:44 pm

DfromCT wrote:
RobertM320 wrote:Pulled this from a post by tps two years ago... So they're down from 100 to under 89m in two years.

Today, cable viewers pay about four times as much for ESPN as for any other non-premium channel, roughly $6 per month, thanks to the network’s near monopoly position. With a few minor exceptions—the NHL, the Olympics, English Premier League—ESPN has a deal with every major sports league. Sports fans want this programming.

Just under 100 million cable homes get ESPN in their cable package; before selling a single commercial unit, the network earns around $7 billion annually in subscriber fees. Still, how many consumers would voluntarily pay for ESPN? In conjunction with a 2004 renegotiation, one cable carrier surveyed its consumers and found that one-third of them would drop their current carrier if it didn’t offer ESPN. For sake of argument, let’s assume that if subscribers could order channels piecemeal, two-thirds would choose not to pay for ESPN.


I think the 1/3 and 2/3 conclusion is just a bit over the top. ESPN has exclusive rights on a number of sporting events, including particular NFL football games, MLB baseball games, and a whole slew of other events. I would be very, very surprised if the numbers weren't closer to 2/3 choosing to buy ESPN "ala carte" if/when we get to that point and 1/3 not buying. When it comes time to watch an event and you don't have ESPN, a whole lot of folks will ante up. Yes, they're on the ropes and hurting, but they still have a lot of content that sports fans won't live without. Sportscenter is not going to keep subscribers; football and other exclusive coverage events will.


Ok assuming that's accurate (and I'm not sure it is), you're talking about losing 1/3rd of $7B in revenue. That's a mere $2.3B in lost revenue, plus their ad revenue declines proportionately with 1/3 less eyeballs. Oh and they'll owe the Big 12 another $100M-$200M via expansion thanks to dumb contractual terms they agreed to. They have existing cost structures in place, no business can lose that kind of revenue and not be in big trouble.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby DfromCT » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:50 am

jonathanjoseph wrote:
DfromCT wrote:
RobertM320 wrote:Pulled this from a post by tps two years ago... So they're down from 100 to under 89m in two years.

Today, cable viewers pay about four times as much for ESPN as for any other non-premium channel, roughly $6 per month, thanks to the network’s near monopoly position. With a few minor exceptions—the NHL, the Olympics, English Premier League—ESPN has a deal with every major sports league. Sports fans want this programming.

Just under 100 million cable homes get ESPN in their cable package; before selling a single commercial unit, the network earns around $7 billion annually in subscriber fees. Still, how many consumers would voluntarily pay for ESPN? In conjunction with a 2004 renegotiation, one cable carrier surveyed its consumers and found that one-third of them would drop their current carrier if it didn’t offer ESPN. For sake of argument, let’s assume that if subscribers could order channels piecemeal, two-thirds would choose not to pay for ESPN.


I think the 1/3 and 2/3 conclusion is just a bit over the top. ESPN has exclusive rights on a number of sporting events, including particular NFL football games, MLB baseball games, and a whole slew of other events. I would be very, very surprised if the numbers weren't closer to 2/3 choosing to buy ESPN "ala carte" if/when we get to that point and 1/3 not buying. When it comes time to watch an event and you don't have ESPN, a whole lot of folks will ante up. Yes, they're on the ropes and hurting, but they still have a lot of content that sports fans won't live without. Sportscenter is not going to keep subscribers; football and other exclusive coverage events will.


Ok assuming that's accurate (and I'm not sure it is), you're talking about losing 1/3rd of $7B in revenue. That's a mere $2.3B in lost revenue, plus their ad revenue declines proportionately with 1/3 less eyeballs. Oh and they'll owe the Big 12 another $100M-$200M via expansion thanks to dumb contractual terms they agreed to. They have existing cost structures in place, no business can lose that kind of revenue and not be in big trouble.


No argument here. I just think ESPN has compelling content that will keep them viable even though Disney is going to have to bite the bullet for their mismanagement. There will be no shortage of bidders for content when the ESPN college football broadcast contracts (as well as those of NBC and CBS) expire. Competition for the broadcast content is increasing, not decreasing, although the number of outlets has grown to the point that it will be interesting to see if the media revenues have not peaked.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby Wavetime » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:24 am

If this trend continues, and I'm sure it will, I wonder what type of influence ESPN will have going forward in college athletics. Some say that the Big East was a creation of ESPN as well as the success of UCONN. It has been said that they have had influence over bowl games, conference expansion, etc.

With Fox, Sling, Netflix, etc, what will ESPN do to maintain their dominance? Or, for that matter, ABC?

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ESPN loses record subscribers for the month

Postby tpstulane » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:51 pm

The hemorrhaging continues
ESPN Loses 621,000 Subscribers; Worst Month In Company History
http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn- ... ory-102916


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Re: ESPN loses record subscribers for the month

Postby RobertM320 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:44 pm

tpstulane wrote:The hemorrhaging continues
ESPN Loses 621,000 Subscribers; Worst Month In Company History
http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn- ... ory-102916


Wow. Great article. ESPN is stuck because they can't even go OTT with content, because they've contracted with cable/satellite companies not to do so.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby wave97 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:37 am

Hooray for OTT! May the chips fall where they may...



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby tpstulane » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:24 pm

The carnage continues. Another 555,000 drop ESPN this month. 20,000 a day dropping.
http://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn- ... sen-112916
Here's insanity
ESPN is on track to pay $7.3 billion in total rights fees in 2017. That's more than any company in America.


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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby tpstulane » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:59 am



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby mbawavefan12 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:59 am

tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby lurker123 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:09 pm

mbawavefan12 wrote:
tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.


I agree that cord cutting is more about economics than politics but then pray tell why were NFL ratings down this year?

Meanwhile ESPN dilemma may be good for G5. As noted in all reporting on this, ESPN content fees are mainly fixed for years and subscription revenue is declining. It may need to push for more CFB playoff games for more content/ad revenue before existing 12 year contract expires in mid-2020s. Pro leagues don't offer same opportunity for adding playoff games to already existing bloated playoff schedule.

If CFB significantly expands early then we'll see what G5 can do to participate in it. Meanwhile ESPN will look to cut costs where possible and this may be hard on G5 content fees in short term.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby mbawavefan12 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:26 pm

lurker123 wrote:
mbawavefan12 wrote:
tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.


I agree that cord cutting is more about economics than politics but then pray tell why were NFL ratings down this year?

Meanwhile ESPN dilemma may be good for G5. As noted in all reporting on this, ESPN content fees are mainly fixed for years and subscription revenue is declining. It may need to push for more CFB playoff games for more content/ad revenue before existing 12 year contract expires in mid-2020s. Pro leagues don't offer same opportunity for adding playoff games to already existing bloated playoff schedule.

If CFB significantly expands early then we'll see what G5 can do to participate in it. Meanwhile ESPN will look to cut costs where possible and this may be hard on G5 content fees in short term.


NFL ratings were down mainly for a few reasons: 1) the debates 2) bad games (particularly on Thursday) 3) over saturation and the fact that growth would stymie at some point 4) cord cutters and the inability to assess who was watching games on other media. 5) people fed up with managements antics (you can only crap on so many fanbases before people revolt).

Was the kneeling for the anthem a factor, maybe but really that was tiny compared to other issues.

ESPN was slow to embrace ESPN3 and streaming services so they are struggling to monetize those outlets but are pushing them hard. They got greedy with their fees and the cable companies had to charge stupid rates and people are sick of it. The most hated companies in America are the cable companies and they are getting crushed now with the future looking even worse. It reminds me of the taxi industry, the most currupt greedy group in the nation, well now they are getting what they deserve.

ESPN is still the king and they are slowly making adjustments. For Tulane this is real bad news as the AAC got flat out screwed on the last TV deal and by the time the next one comes up for bid ESPN will be in a bad spot which equals a potentially even worse deal.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby anEngineer » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:43 pm

mbawavefan12 wrote:
tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.


While I agree that a significant pecentage of the losses are due to cord cutters, I think the content is a significant reason as well. ESPN used to be sports with occasional sports news and very little sports opinion. Now, it is AT LEAST 50% sports talking. Sports talking is not sports, it's blather, it's irrelevant, it's unimportant, it's redudant and it's boring. You can only say, "I think the green team will win", so many times. What's more, who cares what any of those chowderheads think? Just play the game.

The early days of ESPN would show obscure sports instead of blather (I remember watching a lot of Australian football). It's proabaly cheaper to hire some washed up former athlete or sports writer than to pay for game rights but it stinks to watch. These idiots start getting overinflated opinions of themselves so they start Meryl Streep-ing. People watch ESPN to get away from that. If that's what they are going to be, why watch it?



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby mbawavefan12 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:47 pm

anEngineer wrote:
mbawavefan12 wrote:
tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.


While I agree that a significant pecentage of the losses are due to cord cutters, I think the content is a significant reason as well. ESPN used to be sports with occasional sports news and very little sports opinion. Now, it is AT LEAST 50% sports talking. Sports talking is not sports, it's blather, it's irrelevant, it's unimportant, it's redudant and it's boring. You can only say, "I think the green team will win", so many times. What's more, who cares what any of those chowderheads think? Just play the game.

The early days of ESPN would show obscure sports instead of blather (I remember watching a lot of Australian football). It's proabaly cheaper to hire some washed up former athlete or sports writer than to pay for game rights but it stinks to watch. These idiots start getting overinflated opinions of themselves so they start Meryl Streep-ing. People watch ESPN to get away from that. If that's what they are going to be, why watch it?


Oh I agree, but its because it's boring content not political content. In addition, people can get scores, analysis etc. much faster and easier online. They don;t need to watch sportcenter to find out who won or loss and why.

They (espn) are doing well on original content with the 30 four 30 type stuff, but that is not enough. I watched that 6 PM sportcenter with Hill and Smith, it was beyond brutal. Then they are telling the late night hosts to spark things up and they end up doing these cheesy dances and try to be provocative, it's a joke.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby Profoundwizard » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:58 pm

mbawavefan12 wrote:
tpstulane wrote:Political carnage now
http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/02 ... left-turn/


Absolute nonsense article. They are losing subscribers because of cord cutters not politics. The vast majority of cord cutters are younger people who are more left than right.

I am very independent, but Breitbart is complete $hit.


Breitbart has turned to sh*t since Andrew Breitbart died, he was a Tulane alum too. However, Clay Travis at outkick the coverage, the site linked in all the other posts in this thread, also argues that ESPN's move left has hurt them. Obviously cord cutters is the majority of it but he may have a point or it could be BS. I don't really know or care too much. I pretty much only watch live games on ESPN.



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Re: ESPN Loses 4M subs in the past year

Postby ajcalhoun » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:14 pm

I cut the cord to save money but I dropped ESPN The Magazine because of their politics.

I don't doubt that their biggest losses are due to cord-cutters but to say ESPN's politics are irrelevant to their troubles is just being stubborn.


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