This isn’t really media smack but it seems to fit here. ESPN’s plans are no surprise, but they are a sign of things to come.
ESPN is laying the groundwork to sell its channel directly to cable cord-cutters as a subscription-streaming service in coming years, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift with profound implications for the company and the broader television business.
Executives at ESPN and its parent, DisneyDIS 1.40%increase; green up pointing triangle, for years have said it was inevitable that the sports-TV channel would one day be available as a stand-alone streaming service. Now, as consumers increasingly cut the cable-TV cord, the company is actively preparing for that shift under a project with the internal code name “Flagship,” the people said. The company has set no firm timeline for the change.
ESPN would continue to offer the TV channel after launching a streaming option, the people familiar with the matter said. Still, the change could have a major impact on cable-TV providers, since ESPN is one of the main attractions of the cable bundle. The providers pay to carry the ESPN channel and would have to compete with the new streaming service.
ESPN has begun securing flexibility in its deals with cable providers to offer the channel directly to consumers, the people said. The financial terms of those deals couldn’t be learned. The company is having similar discussions with pro sports leagues as those rights deals come up and has secured the same flexibility from at least two major leagues, the people said.
With cable and satellite services seeing increasing declines in subscribers, shifting to streaming only makes sense.
That said, the streaming service that combines these thing into a single subscription (FUBO, Amazon, Apple), will likely rule the results. Had Comcast gotten smart and simply pushed Xfinity Stream as their new platform (and made it affordable), they could make a run at bundling.
Kind of. They’ve announced Hulu and Disney+ are moving to one app by the end of the year. I could see ESPN being another. ESPN+ has fewer stuff - all the marque stuff is on ESPN or ESPN2, so an a la carte app that includes all of ESPN would be great. They were charging cable companies something like $6/month (may be dated) but could probably charge something like $10/mo and people would pay it.
That was certainly part of it. Another piece of that was that there were certain lawmakers that were trying to outlaw cable TV. Since one could get HBO on cable and it showed (gasp) nudity, then obviously that was porn and had to be eradicated. One quote that I remember from that time was “If I didn’t have someone looking out for me when I was a kid, I’d be at a bar or somewhere else partaking in some indecency”. So I assume that some of the folks wouldn’t have cable because of that gosh darn porn.
Do these folks have any clue about human nature or history? I hit on the history portion of things like prohibition, sumptuary laws that tried to ban luxury items, etc. You can’t control human nature with laws like that. You can incentivize good behavior but not outlaw bad. Or to quote the great philosopher, Forrest Gump’s mother, “stupid is as stupid does.”
Anyway, I tried to catch a big Ute game a while back that was only on ESPN, and found that I could not stream the game unless I had it in a package from some cable provider including slingbox. As a new cable cutter with only lukewarm interest in the game, I decided to pass on it.
If I had the option I would have paid 5-7 bucks for one month just to watch the games I cared about. I’m in the target market for this move.