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Cerebus

ESPN Loses Another 1.5 Million Subscribers

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ESPN has lost 10 million subscribers since 2013.

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According to 2016 Nielsen data ESPN lost over 1.5 million subscribers from February to the end of May this year. That drops ESPN to 89,465,000 subscriber homes, a precipitous decline from the network's total number of 2013 subscribers which was over 99 million. Based on these numbers over the past four months ESPN lost an average of 10,400 subscribers a day. 

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Since every ESPN subscriber is worth roughly $80 a year to the company that means every single day in February, March, April and May ESPN lost over $800k in yearly subscriber revenue. Every. Single. Day. This also means that ESPN has now lost 10 million subscribers in the past 2.5 years. Figuring that each of these subscribers is paying in the neighborhood of $80 a year and we're talking about ESPN losing revenue of $840 million a year in the past three years. That's over $2.5 billion the network was expecting that it will never see. Toss in the subscriber losses at ESPN2 and ESPNU and ESPN has lost over a billion dollars a year, three billion total, in revenue over the past three years.

Just a little insight into why the G5 TV contracts are all going to get hit.  

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1 hour ago, Cerebus said:

ESPN has lost 10 million subscribers since 2013.

Just a little insight into why the G5 TV contracts are all going to get hit.  

I wonder what cable has lost in total. Tech is wiping out another industry. Streaming right now is the future! I got to get a bigger phone!

Edited by Wag Tag
The
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Good. I hope every single person goes stream. Turn them upside down as far as I'm concerned. Problem is that prices will eventually go up on internet/streaming services and we the consumers will just create another mega-get rich at all cost giant. 

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2 hours ago, Ben Gooding said:

Good. I hope every single person goes stream. Turn them upside down as far as I'm concerned. Problem is that prices will eventually go up on internet/streaming services and we the consumers will just create another mega-get rich at all cost giant. 

 

Personally I like the too cool for sports hipsters and retired old ladies subsidizing my sports viewing. In the UK if you want their equivalent of ESPN you pay $49.25 a month only for the sports just to stream.

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4 minutes ago, THOR said:

I'm not a streaming fan...I like tv...I like changing channels and seeing other sports/shows on the fly and not having to wait on buffering or anything...streaming is not for me unless it's the only way to watch something

I'm about the same way, but I decided to rid cable and keep 100 a month in my account. Playstation vue is really on point though. 0 buffering. Very clear and HD channels. 40 a month. Only negative is changing channels quickly is impossible. It relaods from page to page, but it only takes 5-10 seconds to refresh and change the channel page. It has an option to favorite channels and makes going from game to game much more easy. 

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27 minutes ago, Arkstfan said:

Personally I like the too cool for sports hipsters and retired old ladies subsidizing my sports viewing. In the UK if you want their equivalent of ESPN you pay $49.25 a month only for the sports just to stream.

Think of all those battles ESPN fought to be on everyone's basic tier of service, plus the side battles to shut down anyone who tried offering budget programming without ESPN. Ben want's to deprive all those attorney's of disposable income. 

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2 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

Think of all those battles ESPN fought to be on everyone's basic tier of service, plus the side battles to shut down anyone who tried offering budget programming without ESPN. Ben want's to deprive all those attorney's of disposable income. 

 

When those contracts start expiring is when we will see how much leverage ESPN has with cable and satellite. I suspect many are going to take the stance that their survival depends on being able to offer locals and basic entertainment on a dirt cheap option and will be more than happy to pay more for ESPN to make it part of higher priced packages.

 

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There is a ton of market research showing the majority of people would be happy without ESPN to get cheaper cable bills. And it doesn't take much of a price cut to stop or significantly delay cable cutters. ESPN has always threatened to pull all carriage at all levels if they weren't on the lowest level of basic service and they are the highest priced per sub of the basic services, by far last time I saw the figures. To make up for the loss of the number of subs at the lowest level, they'll have to triple or more the per sub price and will still face a significant drop. Disney stockholders are already getting antsy about the golden goose laying far fewer eggs.

I think all streaming is going to be the eventual way of the future for everything. Some cable systems already are already effectively doing this as only the channels actually being viewed in a house are fed down the line at any one time. HEVC (H.265) encoding was designed to make 4K practical, but it makes streaming plain old HD MUCH easier. CBS is already letting you use their system like a DVR to time shift programs up to two weeks for free with commercials. The Pac16 network is using IP based production to dramatically cut their production costs - no control rooms needed in a remote truck. Dedicated data lines are cheaper than satellite time. At every turn, it's getting cheaper and easier to get programming from a content creator to a viewer. "Live from Daryl's House" has shown the way of the future. 

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I remember when I had the magazine and insider. The content was terrible, and overpriced. They cut my subscription cost in half the next year, and begged me to stay on. I did one more year, and didnt renew. Twitter killed their insider information. Anyone can find the information on there now.

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12 minutes ago, jtm0097 said:

I remember when I had the magazine and insider. The content was terrible, and overpriced. They cut my subscription cost in half the next year, and begged me to stay on. I did one more year, and didnt renew. Twitter killed their insider information. Anyone can find the information on there now.

Setup a Twitter list of your NT people and read it once a day in ten minutes, at least most days. You'll be better informed although you will have to do some of your own "editing" to rank the value and believability of individual posters yourself. 

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So the bigger question -- does the TV money eventually dry up for the giants of college football too?  What about the NFL when people get sick of paying a bajillion bucks a weekend for Sunday Ticket?  What's the next big revenue stream?  

I do think college football tv goes before NFL tv goes though.  I drive down my street on Sundays during football season and see twenty cars for every house.  It's still a major event, so that'll be a while before it goes.

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11 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

Think of all those battles ESPN fought to be on everyone's basic tier of service, plus the side battles to shut down anyone who tried offering budget programming without ESPN. Ben want's to deprive all those attorney's of disposable income. 

You're not seeing the bigger picture.

@Ben Gooding knows we don't have a law school so none of those dollars would going to UNT. By choking off that income stream  we could be hurting our competition!

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1 hour ago, oldguystudent said:

So the bigger question -- does the TV money eventually dry up for the giants of college football too?

Big time CFB is probably in a better position than every other sport with the possible exception of the NFL.  CFB fans are crazy.  The big programs have a ton of those crazy fans.  Those crazy fans want to watch the games live.  Live games mean no DVRing.  No DVRing means no skipping commercials.  No skipping commercials means a lot of money from advertisers.  The problem with the G5 is we just don't have enough fans to attract the ad money.  

I think the big sports tv money crunch is happening.  It will effect the cable companies, and leagues like the NBA and MLB sooner and stronger than it effects CFB.  MLB knows this and they are way ahead of the game with MLB.TV, and the NBA also knows this and that is why they use MLB's infrastructure to serve up NBA games.

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28 minutes ago, Army of Dad said:

You're not seeing the bigger picture.

@Ben Gooding knows we don't have a law school so none of those dollars would going to UNT. By choking off that income stream  we could be hurting our competition!

Sure. Not too concerned about any of that. I hate seeing giants start to kill an industry much how ESPN has done. 

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12 hours ago, THOR said:

I'm not a streaming fan...I like tv...I like changing channels and seeing other sports/shows on the fly and not having to wait on buffering or anything...streaming is not for me unless it's the only way to watch something

I stream Game of Thrones on my 55" LED TV and it looks pretty awesome. Amazon and Netflix deliver good quality streams as well.

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2 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

There is a ton of market research showing the majority of people would be happy without ESPN to get cheaper cable bills. And it doesn't take much of a price cut to stop or significantly delay cable cutters. ESPN has always threatened to pull all carriage at all levels if they weren't on the lowest level of basic service and they are the highest priced per sub of the basic services, by far last time I saw the figures. To make up for the loss of the number of subs at the lowest level, they'll have to triple or more the per sub price and will still face a significant drop. Disney stockholders are already getting antsy about the golden goose laying far fewer eggs.

I think all streaming is going to be the eventual way of the future for everything. Some cable systems already are already effectively doing this as only the channels actually being viewed in a house are fed down the line at any one time. HEVC (H.265) encoding was designed to make 4K practical, but it makes streaming plain old HD MUCH easier. CBS is already letting you use their system like a DVR to time shift programs up to two weeks for free with commercials. The Pac16 network is using IP based production to dramatically cut their production costs - no control rooms needed in a remote truck. Dedicated data lines are cheaper than satellite time. At every turn, it's getting cheaper and easier to get programming from a content creator to a viewer. "Live from Daryl's House" has shown the way of the future. 

Streaming cannot win over the sports market and I'm a guy who subscribes to MLB, NHL and MLS streaming services and use ESPN3 frequently. The average sports fan is not going to tolerate their primary video source having that much lag. I get push notifications on goals, runs scored, touchdowns before I see them happen. Until the lag is fixed, no one really into is going to choose that option. I watch streams because it is the only way for me to see certain teams and because I watch some on iPad to keep peace in the home.

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1 minute ago, Arkstfan said:

Streaming cannot win over the sports market and I'm a guy who subscribes to MLB, NHL and MLS streaming services and use ESPN3 frequently. The average sports fan is not going to tolerate their primary video source having that much lag. I get push notifications on goals, runs scored, touchdowns before I see them happen. Until the lag is fixed, no one really into is going to choose that option. I watch streams because it is the only way for me to see certain teams and because I watch some on iPad to keep peace in the home.

Playstation Vue has 0 lag. 

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1 minute ago, Ben Gooding said:

Playstation Vue has 0 lag. 

I have a hard time believing that since every other device, phone, tablet, laptop, apple TV has lag. If I buy one and have lag you offer a money back guarantee? :)

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2 minutes ago, Arkstfan said:

I have a hard time believing that since every other device, phone, tablet, laptop, apple TV has lag. If I buy one and have lag you offer a money back guarantee? :)

I don't money back guarantee anything. But I have Vue, and it doesn't lag. Ever. 

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We're teetering on the decision to cut the cable.  These days, we watch nothing other than kids shows and Liga MX.  My wife watches the Mexican news and some of the soap operas. 

Looking into Rabbit TV now.  Anyone have experience with that?  Let me know, good and bad for Rabbit and whatever competitors they have. 

My sister has the Apple TV set up.  Not horribly impressed by it, though.  She'll never admit it sucks because she's one of those Apple-since-the-80s people who can't be objective about it. 

Edited by MeanGreenMailbox
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11 minutes ago, Ben Gooding said:

Playstation Vue has 0 lag. 

Even live TV has lag due to the time it takes for the images captured by the cameras make it to your TV. There is no way Playstation Vue has absolutely no lag. In fact many "live" TV shows have a minimum 7 second "buffer" to allow cuss words and whatnot to be censored out for the sake of our virgin American eyes and ears.

Lag <> Buffering.

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10 minutes ago, Ben Gooding said:

I don't money back guarantee anything. But I have Vue, and it doesn't lag. Ever. 

He's not talking about playback lag he is talking about broadcast lag.  The delay between the play happening in real life and the time it takes to get it recorded, encoded, transmitted and then played back.  You can see this when you watch a game on tv but the radio feed is ahead of it.  Less steps to get to you.

Internet streaming has more steps to get to you so yes it will probably have more broadcast lag than tv or radio.

Edited by Cerebus
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