Last week we brought you word that ESPN’s subscriber loss had continued, while rival FS1 had seen significant gains. So, perhaps it should come as no shock to learn, that ESPN is hemorrhaging money as well as subscribers.
When tracing the origin of much of Disney’s financial woes, Bloomberg lays much of the blame at the feet of the company’s struggling cable division: “Profits at the company’s cable networks division fell 23 percent to $1.46 billion, due to higher programming costs and lower ad revenue.”
When industry analysts mention Disney’s cable networks division, they’re mentioning ESPN. Which makes up the lion share of all the “Magic Kingdom’s” cable offerings.
Those numbers add up to nothing short of a disaster for ESPN, who has embraced a failing business model. Not solely by infecting the airwaves with unsolicited and obnoxious leftist politics, but also by investing in the NBA. Which has seen their rights fees grow exponentially, while at the same time becoming an increasingly non-competitive sport dominated by personalities who have become unlikeable.
Bloomberg also notes, “Disney set off a meltdown in media stocks two years ago when the company acknowledged that ESPN, its most profitable network, was losing business as consumers canceled their cable TV subscriptions. The company has since cut costs, terminating on-air personalities while also looking to stem the viewer losses by extending ESPN into new, lower-cost pay-TV packages. Disney plans to introduce an online-only, subscription version of ESPN this year.”
ESPN has made much of their efforts to transition to online-only digital subscriptions and streaming, while this kind of talk no doubt tickles the fancy of murse carrying millennials in New York and Chicago. This effort is almost certainly doomed to fail. For any sports network to have success: whether the network’s platform is television, radio, or internet, they must show games that people care about.
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