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ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
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Scoochpooch1 Offline
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Post: #41
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-23-2022 08:46 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I think the large problem that so many of these articles on this subject have is that they’re looking solely the top line revenue decreases at ESPN and other cable networks but never acknowledge that they’re *still* extremely profitable. Even with everything that Disney owns, ESPN is still the single most profitable business in that entire company. That context can’t be emphasized enough. That alone answers Travis’ question about why Disney still holds onto ESPN. In fact, ESPN has been the biggest reason why Disney was able to get through the last 2.5 years of the pandemic ravaging pretty much every other business that it had outside of Disney+ (e.g. theme parks, movies, cruises, etc.).

Now, there can certainly be an inflection point where revenue decreases so much that it gets to the point where ESPN would outright lose money. However, even if the bottom is around 50 million subscribers (as Travis mentioned), I don’t know why Travis is critiquing a business that would still be generating $6 billion per year just on subscriber fees. Remember that sports also charge the highest ad rates out of any type of programming BY FAR, so ESPN is generating the highest ad sales in the industry on top of those subscriber fees. To put $6 billion per year in perspective, that’s still more in *only* subscriber fees every *month* than the domestic grosses of all but 16 movies in the entire history of cinema. Only one movie (the latest Spider-Man film) since the start of the pandemic has made as much as what even a 50 million subscriber base ESPN would make every single month *before* ads. We really need to understand the context of just how much money that is in order to properly compare it to anything else.

It’s not that I’m bullish on sports per se, but more that I’m bearish on the profitability of pretty much all other forms of mass market entertainment in general outside of a handful of marquee movie franchises (e.g. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). When Travis asks why anyone would invest in sports when it doesn’t create a back catalog of programming like movies or TV shows, it’s because (1) the franchises are really what works for those types of programs, but there just aren’t that many of them and they’re expensive to do well and (2) we have no idea what TV shows that people will watch 10 years from now, but it’s still a good bet that people will still watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and other major sports properties at a material level (even if it’s lower than today).

Finally, I just don’t think anyone can discount the value that sports are truly the only type of program that people watch live en masse anymore. 93 of the top 100 most watched programs last year were sporting events. Only 1 of that top 100 was a scripted TV show… and that was only because it was shown after the Super Bowl (the biggest sporting event of them all)!

So, as long as there’s an ad market where companies need to reach a large audience at the exact same time, then sports will also always have high value since it’s the only property that actually serves that market anymore.

(Note that the movie industry that Travis points to as where Disney could shift money to away from ESPN is super dependent on such live ad market. Every movie has a “time is of the essence” marketing campaign for a movie where they need to show the maximum number of ads in the last week or two before opening night. Nothing delivers that type of audience better than sports. See how the new Thor trailer is premiering tonight during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN, which is a classic example of Disney corporate synergy.)

Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.
05-25-2022 08:40 AM
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quo vadis Offline
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Post: #42
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 08:32 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:13 PM)MattBrownEP Wrote:  Clay has been beating this drum for years because he hates ESPN over perceived political issues. The business is fine, albeit one that produces smaller margins than it did a decade ago. They just dropped $500M+ on MLB rights, they're buying up almost all of the college IP they can find, and even as streaming numbers are smaller, the entity has been able to make up the difference in other revenue streams (like digital ads and events).

It's not 1999, but structurally, it's fine.

Way overpaid for MLB, an admittedly dying sport.

People say that, but MLB revenues have never been higher.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 08:44 AM by quo vadis.)
05-25-2022 08:42 AM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #43
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 08:32 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:13 PM)MattBrownEP Wrote:  Clay has been beating this drum for years because he hates ESPN over perceived political issues. The business is fine, albeit one that produces smaller margins than it did a decade ago. They just dropped $500M+ on MLB rights, they're buying up almost all of the college IP they can find, and even as streaming numbers are smaller, the entity has been able to make up the difference in other revenue streams (like digital ads and events).

It's not 1999, but structurally, it's fine.

Way overpaid for MLB, an admittedly dying sport.

MLB isn't dying at all. It's just much more regional in terms of interest than it used to be beyond a handful of marquee teams (e.g. Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers).

There's also a simple matter of the sports calendar that provides MLB leverage in national TV negotiations. Once the NBA Finals are over and until NFL and college football start, MLB is really the only major sports property in America for nearly 3 months of the year (June through August). That in and of itself has value to a sports network in order to have year-round programming.
05-25-2022 08:44 AM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #44
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 08:40 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:46 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I think the large problem that so many of these articles on this subject have is that they’re looking solely the top line revenue decreases at ESPN and other cable networks but never acknowledge that they’re *still* extremely profitable. Even with everything that Disney owns, ESPN is still the single most profitable business in that entire company. That context can’t be emphasized enough. That alone answers Travis’ question about why Disney still holds onto ESPN. In fact, ESPN has been the biggest reason why Disney was able to get through the last 2.5 years of the pandemic ravaging pretty much every other business that it had outside of Disney+ (e.g. theme parks, movies, cruises, etc.).

Now, there can certainly be an inflection point where revenue decreases so much that it gets to the point where ESPN would outright lose money. However, even if the bottom is around 50 million subscribers (as Travis mentioned), I don’t know why Travis is critiquing a business that would still be generating $6 billion per year just on subscriber fees. Remember that sports also charge the highest ad rates out of any type of programming BY FAR, so ESPN is generating the highest ad sales in the industry on top of those subscriber fees. To put $6 billion per year in perspective, that’s still more in *only* subscriber fees every *month* than the domestic grosses of all but 16 movies in the entire history of cinema. Only one movie (the latest Spider-Man film) since the start of the pandemic has made as much as what even a 50 million subscriber base ESPN would make every single month *before* ads. We really need to understand the context of just how much money that is in order to properly compare it to anything else.

It’s not that I’m bullish on sports per se, but more that I’m bearish on the profitability of pretty much all other forms of mass market entertainment in general outside of a handful of marquee movie franchises (e.g. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). When Travis asks why anyone would invest in sports when it doesn’t create a back catalog of programming like movies or TV shows, it’s because (1) the franchises are really what works for those types of programs, but there just aren’t that many of them and they’re expensive to do well and (2) we have no idea what TV shows that people will watch 10 years from now, but it’s still a good bet that people will still watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and other major sports properties at a material level (even if it’s lower than today).

Finally, I just don’t think anyone can discount the value that sports are truly the only type of program that people watch live en masse anymore. 93 of the top 100 most watched programs last year were sporting events. Only 1 of that top 100 was a scripted TV show… and that was only because it was shown after the Super Bowl (the biggest sporting event of them all)!

So, as long as there’s an ad market where companies need to reach a large audience at the exact same time, then sports will also always have high value since it’s the only property that actually serves that market anymore.

(Note that the movie industry that Travis points to as where Disney could shift money to away from ESPN is super dependent on such live ad market. Every movie has a “time is of the essence” marketing campaign for a movie where they need to show the maximum number of ads in the last week or two before opening night. Nothing delivers that type of audience better than sports. See how the new Thor trailer is premiering tonight during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN, which is a classic example of Disney corporate synergy.)

Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.

ESPN is still increasing its subscriber fee levels, so that's how it's possible that they could be losing subscribers yet still making similar (or even more) revenue. The per subscriber revenue is going up even if the total number of subscribers are going down.

The reason why sports rights fees are increasing in general goes back to what I've stated already: sports programs are really the only option that linear TV networks have to get people to watch anything live at a specific time AKA get people to watch commercials that those TV networks can charge for. This similarly helps ESPN because they're able to charge among the very highest advertising rates in the industry. Their ad revenue is much more stable compared to any other network.

That's why everyone needs to put ratings and viewership decreases into context. In a vacuum, sports ratings and viewership have been decreasing for years. However, the thing is that *everything* else on TV has had way way WAY worse declines in ratings and viewership by comparison, which means that the *relative* importance of sports compared to everything else on TV has risen dramatically.

Back in 2001 or even 2011, you would have never seen a chart where 93 of the top 100 most watched programs on TV were sporting events and absolutely *no* regularly scheduled prime time network shows were on that list.

Think of it this way: even putting aside the NFL (which dominates everything), the NBA, MLB, Big Ten and SEC all offer multiple games per year that draw a larger audience than ANY of the regularly scheduled prime time programs on ALL of the over-the-air (much less cable) networks COMBINED. This wasn't the case 10 years ago. That's the power of sports right now and why their rights fees are increasing so much. There is no alternative for linear networks to find any type of live audience other than sports.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 09:00 AM by Frank the Tank.)
05-25-2022 08:55 AM
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Post: #45
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 08:55 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:40 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:46 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I think the large problem that so many of these articles on this subject have is that they’re looking solely the top line revenue decreases at ESPN and other cable networks but never acknowledge that they’re *still* extremely profitable. Even with everything that Disney owns, ESPN is still the single most profitable business in that entire company. That context can’t be emphasized enough. That alone answers Travis’ question about why Disney still holds onto ESPN. In fact, ESPN has been the biggest reason why Disney was able to get through the last 2.5 years of the pandemic ravaging pretty much every other business that it had outside of Disney+ (e.g. theme parks, movies, cruises, etc.).

Now, there can certainly be an inflection point where revenue decreases so much that it gets to the point where ESPN would outright lose money. However, even if the bottom is around 50 million subscribers (as Travis mentioned), I don’t know why Travis is critiquing a business that would still be generating $6 billion per year just on subscriber fees. Remember that sports also charge the highest ad rates out of any type of programming BY FAR, so ESPN is generating the highest ad sales in the industry on top of those subscriber fees. To put $6 billion per year in perspective, that’s still more in *only* subscriber fees every *month* than the domestic grosses of all but 16 movies in the entire history of cinema. Only one movie (the latest Spider-Man film) since the start of the pandemic has made as much as what even a 50 million subscriber base ESPN would make every single month *before* ads. We really need to understand the context of just how much money that is in order to properly compare it to anything else.

It’s not that I’m bullish on sports per se, but more that I’m bearish on the profitability of pretty much all other forms of mass market entertainment in general outside of a handful of marquee movie franchises (e.g. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). When Travis asks why anyone would invest in sports when it doesn’t create a back catalog of programming like movies or TV shows, it’s because (1) the franchises are really what works for those types of programs, but there just aren’t that many of them and they’re expensive to do well and (2) we have no idea what TV shows that people will watch 10 years from now, but it’s still a good bet that people will still watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and other major sports properties at a material level (even if it’s lower than today).

Finally, I just don’t think anyone can discount the value that sports are truly the only type of program that people watch live en masse anymore. 93 of the top 100 most watched programs last year were sporting events. Only 1 of that top 100 was a scripted TV show… and that was only because it was shown after the Super Bowl (the biggest sporting event of them all)!

So, as long as there’s an ad market where companies need to reach a large audience at the exact same time, then sports will also always have high value since it’s the only property that actually serves that market anymore.

(Note that the movie industry that Travis points to as where Disney could shift money to away from ESPN is super dependent on such live ad market. Every movie has a “time is of the essence” marketing campaign for a movie where they need to show the maximum number of ads in the last week or two before opening night. Nothing delivers that type of audience better than sports. See how the new Thor trailer is premiering tonight during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN, which is a classic example of Disney corporate synergy.)

Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.

ESPN is still increasing its subscriber fee levels, so that's how it's possible that they could be losing subscribers yet still making similar (or even more) revenue. The per subscriber revenue is going up even if the total number of subscribers are going down.

The reason why sports rights fees are increasing in general goes back to what I've stated already: sports programs are really the only option that linear TV networks have to get people to watch anything live at a specific time AKA get people to watch commercials that those TV networks can charge for. This similarly helps ESPN because they're able to charge among the very highest advertising rates in the industry. Their ad revenue is much more stable compared to any other network.

That's why everyone needs to put ratings and viewership decreases into context. In a vacuum, sports ratings and viewership have been decreasing for years. However, the thing is that *everything* else on TV has had way way WAY worse declines in ratings and viewership by comparison, which means that the *relative* importance of sports compared to everything else on TV has risen dramatically.

Back in 2001 or even 2011, you would have never seen a chart where 93 of the top 100 most watched programs on TV were sporting events and absolutely *no* regularly scheduled prime time network shows were on that list.

Think of it this way: even putting aside the NFL (which dominates everything), the NBA, MLB, Big Ten and SEC all offer multiple games per year that draw a larger audience than ANY of the regularly scheduled prime time programs on ALL of the over-the-air (much less cable) networks COMBINED. This wasn't the case 10 years ago. That's the power of sports right now and why their rights fees are increasing so much. There is no alternative for linear networks to find any type of live audience other than sports.

If I was a Disney shareholder (and I'm not, btw), declining cable viewership would concern me for ESPN if it was reflective of a decline in consumer interest in sports.

But I see no evidence that people are losing interest in sports. To the contrary, that interest seems as strong as ever.

So I suspect that ESPN will be able to adjust its business model as viewership adjusts and remain profitable.

That's not to say that I think ESPN or Disney are invulnerable. When I was growing up in the 1970s, GM and Sears were regarded as invulnerable. The latter is now non-existent (right?) and the other is a shadow of its former self and needed a $50 Billion government bailout in 2009 to emerge from bankruptcy.

But I just wouldn't worry about them *because* of changes in how people are consuming sports. They are still consuming sports, which IMO is the more essential issue.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 09:07 AM by quo vadis.)
05-25-2022 09:07 AM
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Post: #46
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
If ESPN is eventually turning into a streaming service, I am going to want to see the same options I get with Netflix, HBO or Hulu. Meaning...

1. An option to pay a higher price to get all content without ads and without commercial breaks. This also includes the option to start watching a game late, from the beginning.

2. Option to pay a cheaper price for content that does have ads. There are different ways to do this. You can cut away from live action to show commercials, then show replays when you get back. But mostly what you are watching is still live. Or another option is you watch the ads and resume watching where you left off, meaning you will be behind the live action. The streaming service should give you either choice.
05-25-2022 09:10 AM
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Post: #47
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-23-2022 06:17 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 05:31 PM)quo vadis Wrote:  I enjoy that my ESPN sports viewing is currently subsidized by (a) cable subscribers who get charged for ESPN whether they want it or not and (b) streaming by Disney via their bundles. A total of about $15 a month to get all that cable + streaming ESPN content is awesome-sauce.

Will it last forever? Probably not, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

That said, since I don't own Disney stock, I could care less whether ESPN thrives or survives or not. What would concern me is if I could no longer see the sports I want to see on ESPN and other networks, meaning that if ESPN goes away, the sports goes away from my TV, or if the price of viewing those things were to rise dramatically.

I don't foresee either happening, because IMO the fundamental of the sports broadcasting market is sound, namely that while cords are being cut and all that, the actual bedrock demand to watch sports on TV isn't declining.

I have said this before and will say it again. I think people misunderstand what Disney/ESPN may be doing. I think as cable dies ESPN intends to shift to being a college sports rights broker. I think they will sell the choicest games each week to the highest bidder and show all other contests via stream, cut their studio overhead and use college play by play guys to reach their own fans at a fraction of the cost.

Therefore other networks will buy their games each week to maximize ad revenue. It's more profitable for them to spend on just the games they want, pulling from any conference, than to buy all the B1G rights to land 8 must see games.

IMO, some (not you, btw) always seem to view ESPN with a "glass half empty" lens.

Five years ago, it was "Streaming is Taking Over, it's the Future! Cable is Dead and ESPN missed the Streaming Boat! They are a Doomed Dinosaur!"

Now, given that ESPN was able to very easily establish itself with streaming, it's "Streaming won't Save ESPN!"

It's always something, IMO. But ESPN remains very profitable.
05-25-2022 09:14 AM
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Post: #48
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 09:14 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 06:17 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 05:31 PM)quo vadis Wrote:  I enjoy that my ESPN sports viewing is currently subsidized by (a) cable subscribers who get charged for ESPN whether they want it or not and (b) streaming by Disney via their bundles. A total of about $15 a month to get all that cable + streaming ESPN content is awesome-sauce.

Will it last forever? Probably not, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

That said, since I don't own Disney stock, I could care less whether ESPN thrives or survives or not. What would concern me is if I could no longer see the sports I want to see on ESPN and other networks, meaning that if ESPN goes away, the sports goes away from my TV, or if the price of viewing those things were to rise dramatically.

I don't foresee either happening, because IMO the fundamental of the sports broadcasting market is sound, namely that while cords are being cut and all that, the actual bedrock demand to watch sports on TV isn't declining.

I have said this before and will say it again. I think people misunderstand what Disney/ESPN may be doing. I think as cable dies ESPN intends to shift to being a college sports rights broker. I think they will sell the choicest games each week to the highest bidder and show all other contests via stream, cut their studio overhead and use college play by play guys to reach their own fans at a fraction of the cost.

Therefore other networks will buy their games each week to maximize ad revenue. It's more profitable for them to spend on just the games they want, pulling from any conference, than to buy all the B1G rights to land 8 must see games.

IMO, some (not you, btw) always seem to view ESPN with a "glass half empty" lens.

Five years ago, it was "Streaming is Taking Over, it's the Future! Cable is Dead and ESPN missed the Streaming Boat! They are a Doomed Dinosaur!"

Now, given that ESPN was able to very easily establish itself with streaming, it's "Streaming won't Save ESPN!"

It's always something, IMO. But ESPN remains very profitable.

Any new stick for old schadenfreude!
05-25-2022 09:21 AM
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Post: #49
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 09:07 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:55 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:40 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:46 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I think the large problem that so many of these articles on this subject have is that they’re looking solely the top line revenue decreases at ESPN and other cable networks but never acknowledge that they’re *still* extremely profitable. Even with everything that Disney owns, ESPN is still the single most profitable business in that entire company. That context can’t be emphasized enough. That alone answers Travis’ question about why Disney still holds onto ESPN. In fact, ESPN has been the biggest reason why Disney was able to get through the last 2.5 years of the pandemic ravaging pretty much every other business that it had outside of Disney+ (e.g. theme parks, movies, cruises, etc.).

Now, there can certainly be an inflection point where revenue decreases so much that it gets to the point where ESPN would outright lose money. However, even if the bottom is around 50 million subscribers (as Travis mentioned), I don’t know why Travis is critiquing a business that would still be generating $6 billion per year just on subscriber fees. Remember that sports also charge the highest ad rates out of any type of programming BY FAR, so ESPN is generating the highest ad sales in the industry on top of those subscriber fees. To put $6 billion per year in perspective, that’s still more in *only* subscriber fees every *month* than the domestic grosses of all but 16 movies in the entire history of cinema. Only one movie (the latest Spider-Man film) since the start of the pandemic has made as much as what even a 50 million subscriber base ESPN would make every single month *before* ads. We really need to understand the context of just how much money that is in order to properly compare it to anything else.

It’s not that I’m bullish on sports per se, but more that I’m bearish on the profitability of pretty much all other forms of mass market entertainment in general outside of a handful of marquee movie franchises (e.g. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). When Travis asks why anyone would invest in sports when it doesn’t create a back catalog of programming like movies or TV shows, it’s because (1) the franchises are really what works for those types of programs, but there just aren’t that many of them and they’re expensive to do well and (2) we have no idea what TV shows that people will watch 10 years from now, but it’s still a good bet that people will still watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and other major sports properties at a material level (even if it’s lower than today).

Finally, I just don’t think anyone can discount the value that sports are truly the only type of program that people watch live en masse anymore. 93 of the top 100 most watched programs last year were sporting events. Only 1 of that top 100 was a scripted TV show… and that was only because it was shown after the Super Bowl (the biggest sporting event of them all)!

So, as long as there’s an ad market where companies need to reach a large audience at the exact same time, then sports will also always have high value since it’s the only property that actually serves that market anymore.

(Note that the movie industry that Travis points to as where Disney could shift money to away from ESPN is super dependent on such live ad market. Every movie has a “time is of the essence” marketing campaign for a movie where they need to show the maximum number of ads in the last week or two before opening night. Nothing delivers that type of audience better than sports. See how the new Thor trailer is premiering tonight during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN, which is a classic example of Disney corporate synergy.)

Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.

ESPN is still increasing its subscriber fee levels, so that's how it's possible that they could be losing subscribers yet still making similar (or even more) revenue. The per subscriber revenue is going up even if the total number of subscribers are going down.

The reason why sports rights fees are increasing in general goes back to what I've stated already: sports programs are really the only option that linear TV networks have to get people to watch anything live at a specific time AKA get people to watch commercials that those TV networks can charge for. This similarly helps ESPN because they're able to charge among the very highest advertising rates in the industry. Their ad revenue is much more stable compared to any other network.

That's why everyone needs to put ratings and viewership decreases into context. In a vacuum, sports ratings and viewership have been decreasing for years. However, the thing is that *everything* else on TV has had way way WAY worse declines in ratings and viewership by comparison, which means that the *relative* importance of sports compared to everything else on TV has risen dramatically.

Back in 2001 or even 2011, you would have never seen a chart where 93 of the top 100 most watched programs on TV were sporting events and absolutely *no* regularly scheduled prime time network shows were on that list.

Think of it this way: even putting aside the NFL (which dominates everything), the NBA, MLB, Big Ten and SEC all offer multiple games per year that draw a larger audience than ANY of the regularly scheduled prime time programs on ALL of the over-the-air (much less cable) networks COMBINED. This wasn't the case 10 years ago. That's the power of sports right now and why their rights fees are increasing so much. There is no alternative for linear networks to find any type of live audience other than sports.

If I was a Disney shareholder (and I'm not, btw), declining cable viewership would concern me for ESPN if it was reflective of a decline in consumer interest in sports.

But I see no evidence that people are losing interest in sports. To the contrary, that interest seems as strong as ever.

So I suspect that ESPN will be able to adjust its business model as viewership adjusts and remain profitable.

That's not to say that I think ESPN or Disney are invulnerable. When I was growing up in the 1970s, GM and Sears were regarded as invulnerable. The latter is now non-existent (right?) and the other is a shadow of its former self and needed a $50 Billion government bailout in 2009 to emerge from bankruptcy.

But I just wouldn't worry about them *because* of changes in how people are consuming sports. They are still consuming sports, which IMO is the more essential issue.
The reason for concern isn't about rising or declining interest in sports.

The reason for concern is that the old Cable model forced everyone who had cable TV to consume Sports whether they had any interest or not. ( I guess to get really really specific they were compelled to pay to consume Sports)
That's the revenues is drying up. And screaming is not going to replace that.

That's been balanced by the fact that sports are flat-out the only thing that commands a live audience, which is the only way you can get anybody to watch ads.

In the Cable Bundle era, if you had a property with a big loyal audience that wasn't inclined to switch, like sports or Fox News, you had leverage to impose that cost on everybody.

Now you don't
05-25-2022 09:28 AM
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Post: #50
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 09:10 AM)goofus Wrote:  If ESPN is eventually turning into a streaming service, I am going to want to see the same options I get with Netflix, HBO or Hulu. Meaning...

1. An option to pay a higher price to get all content without ads and without commercial breaks. This also includes the option to start watching a game late, from the beginning.

2. Option to pay a cheaper price for content that does have ads. There are different ways to do this. You can cut away from live action to show commercials, then show replays when you get back. But mostly what you are watching is still live. Or another option is you watch the ads and resume watching where you left off, meaning you will be behind the live action. The streaming service should give you either choice.

For a live event, you just want a shot of midcourt instead of commercials? You don’t look at your phone already during commercials? How would ESPN make money to employ people if they can’t sell commercials to Bud Light and Pizza Hut?

Your higher price, would be astronomically high. What would you be willing to pay?
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 10:02 AM by DoubleRSU.)
05-25-2022 10:01 AM
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quo vadis Offline
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Post: #51
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 09:28 AM)johnbragg Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:07 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:55 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:40 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  
(05-23-2022 08:46 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  I think the large problem that so many of these articles on this subject have is that they’re looking solely the top line revenue decreases at ESPN and other cable networks but never acknowledge that they’re *still* extremely profitable. Even with everything that Disney owns, ESPN is still the single most profitable business in that entire company. That context can’t be emphasized enough. That alone answers Travis’ question about why Disney still holds onto ESPN. In fact, ESPN has been the biggest reason why Disney was able to get through the last 2.5 years of the pandemic ravaging pretty much every other business that it had outside of Disney+ (e.g. theme parks, movies, cruises, etc.).

Now, there can certainly be an inflection point where revenue decreases so much that it gets to the point where ESPN would outright lose money. However, even if the bottom is around 50 million subscribers (as Travis mentioned), I don’t know why Travis is critiquing a business that would still be generating $6 billion per year just on subscriber fees. Remember that sports also charge the highest ad rates out of any type of programming BY FAR, so ESPN is generating the highest ad sales in the industry on top of those subscriber fees. To put $6 billion per year in perspective, that’s still more in *only* subscriber fees every *month* than the domestic grosses of all but 16 movies in the entire history of cinema. Only one movie (the latest Spider-Man film) since the start of the pandemic has made as much as what even a 50 million subscriber base ESPN would make every single month *before* ads. We really need to understand the context of just how much money that is in order to properly compare it to anything else.

It’s not that I’m bullish on sports per se, but more that I’m bearish on the profitability of pretty much all other forms of mass market entertainment in general outside of a handful of marquee movie franchises (e.g. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park). When Travis asks why anyone would invest in sports when it doesn’t create a back catalog of programming like movies or TV shows, it’s because (1) the franchises are really what works for those types of programs, but there just aren’t that many of them and they’re expensive to do well and (2) we have no idea what TV shows that people will watch 10 years from now, but it’s still a good bet that people will still watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football and other major sports properties at a material level (even if it’s lower than today).

Finally, I just don’t think anyone can discount the value that sports are truly the only type of program that people watch live en masse anymore. 93 of the top 100 most watched programs last year were sporting events. Only 1 of that top 100 was a scripted TV show… and that was only because it was shown after the Super Bowl (the biggest sporting event of them all)!

So, as long as there’s an ad market where companies need to reach a large audience at the exact same time, then sports will also always have high value since it’s the only property that actually serves that market anymore.

(Note that the movie industry that Travis points to as where Disney could shift money to away from ESPN is super dependent on such live ad market. Every movie has a “time is of the essence” marketing campaign for a movie where they need to show the maximum number of ads in the last week or two before opening night. Nothing delivers that type of audience better than sports. See how the new Thor trailer is premiering tonight during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN, which is a classic example of Disney corporate synergy.)

Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.

ESPN is still increasing its subscriber fee levels, so that's how it's possible that they could be losing subscribers yet still making similar (or even more) revenue. The per subscriber revenue is going up even if the total number of subscribers are going down.

The reason why sports rights fees are increasing in general goes back to what I've stated already: sports programs are really the only option that linear TV networks have to get people to watch anything live at a specific time AKA get people to watch commercials that those TV networks can charge for. This similarly helps ESPN because they're able to charge among the very highest advertising rates in the industry. Their ad revenue is much more stable compared to any other network.

That's why everyone needs to put ratings and viewership decreases into context. In a vacuum, sports ratings and viewership have been decreasing for years. However, the thing is that *everything* else on TV has had way way WAY worse declines in ratings and viewership by comparison, which means that the *relative* importance of sports compared to everything else on TV has risen dramatically.

Back in 2001 or even 2011, you would have never seen a chart where 93 of the top 100 most watched programs on TV were sporting events and absolutely *no* regularly scheduled prime time network shows were on that list.

Think of it this way: even putting aside the NFL (which dominates everything), the NBA, MLB, Big Ten and SEC all offer multiple games per year that draw a larger audience than ANY of the regularly scheduled prime time programs on ALL of the over-the-air (much less cable) networks COMBINED. This wasn't the case 10 years ago. That's the power of sports right now and why their rights fees are increasing so much. There is no alternative for linear networks to find any type of live audience other than sports.

If I was a Disney shareholder (and I'm not, btw), declining cable viewership would concern me for ESPN if it was reflective of a decline in consumer interest in sports.

But I see no evidence that people are losing interest in sports. To the contrary, that interest seems as strong as ever.

So I suspect that ESPN will be able to adjust its business model as viewership adjusts and remain profitable.

That's not to say that I think ESPN or Disney are invulnerable. When I was growing up in the 1970s, GM and Sears were regarded as invulnerable. The latter is now non-existent (right?) and the other is a shadow of its former self and needed a $50 Billion government bailout in 2009 to emerge from bankruptcy.

But I just wouldn't worry about them *because* of changes in how people are consuming sports. They are still consuming sports, which IMO is the more essential issue.
The reason for concern isn't about rising or declining interest in sports.

The reason for concern is that the old Cable model forced everyone who had cable TV to consume Sports whether they had any interest or not. ( I guess to get really really specific they were compelled to pay to consume Sports)
That's the revenues is drying up. And screaming is not going to replace that.

That's been balanced by the fact that sports are flat-out the only thing that commands a live audience, which is the only way you can get anybody to watch ads.

In the Cable Bundle era, if you had a property with a big loyal audience that wasn't inclined to switch, like sports or Fox News, you had leverage to impose that cost on everybody.

Now you don't

Well first, I think we are still in the "cable bundle era", in that I think most people are still subscribing to cable bundles. I am, for what that's worth.

Second, about the bolded, it does seem that ESPN still has leverage, in that IIRC, they are still able to command very high rates from cable carriers. IOWs, as a cable subscriber, ESPN is still able to impose that cost on me (which I willingly pay, btw).

The problem isn't that cable carriers are using leverage to force down ESPN carriage rates, it's just that fewer people are subscribing to cable and paying those rates. That's a different problem, IMO.

Nobody knows what will happen, but I don't really believe that ESPN's profitability is *mostly* dependent on millions of grannies with no interest in sports being forced to pay $10 for ESPN in order to get the cable channels they do want. I suspect its partially dependent on it, but they would still be profitable without that subsidy from non-sports fans.

Actually, I suspect the opposite is at least equally true - I'd much rather just pay $30 a month for all of my sports channels and shed the other non-sports channels that get bundled with them, but on balance its a good deal for me. So I suspect (with no data admittedly) that there are as many sports fans getting socked via cable with being forced to watch non-sports as there are people who don't want sports but are compelled to buy ESPN. We all get socked.

In the end, I think as delivery models change sports fans will still buy sports. And ESPN will do fine. We'll see.
05-25-2022 11:42 AM
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Post: #52
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
Don't worry about ESPN, they will just raise your rates.
05-25-2022 12:00 PM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #53
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 11:42 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:28 AM)johnbragg Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:07 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:55 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 08:40 AM)Scoochpooch1 Wrote:  Admittedly, I have not looked at ESPNs earnings. But how is revenue decreasing and earnings increasing when rights fees are increasing. They have that many operational efficiencies or did they just scale back on talent salaries? I know they are overpaying Scum A. Smith and others at the moment.

ESPN is still increasing its subscriber fee levels, so that's how it's possible that they could be losing subscribers yet still making similar (or even more) revenue. The per subscriber revenue is going up even if the total number of subscribers are going down.

The reason why sports rights fees are increasing in general goes back to what I've stated already: sports programs are really the only option that linear TV networks have to get people to watch anything live at a specific time AKA get people to watch commercials that those TV networks can charge for. This similarly helps ESPN because they're able to charge among the very highest advertising rates in the industry. Their ad revenue is much more stable compared to any other network.

That's why everyone needs to put ratings and viewership decreases into context. In a vacuum, sports ratings and viewership have been decreasing for years. However, the thing is that *everything* else on TV has had way way WAY worse declines in ratings and viewership by comparison, which means that the *relative* importance of sports compared to everything else on TV has risen dramatically.

Back in 2001 or even 2011, you would have never seen a chart where 93 of the top 100 most watched programs on TV were sporting events and absolutely *no* regularly scheduled prime time network shows were on that list.

Think of it this way: even putting aside the NFL (which dominates everything), the NBA, MLB, Big Ten and SEC all offer multiple games per year that draw a larger audience than ANY of the regularly scheduled prime time programs on ALL of the over-the-air (much less cable) networks COMBINED. This wasn't the case 10 years ago. That's the power of sports right now and why their rights fees are increasing so much. There is no alternative for linear networks to find any type of live audience other than sports.

If I was a Disney shareholder (and I'm not, btw), declining cable viewership would concern me for ESPN if it was reflective of a decline in consumer interest in sports.

But I see no evidence that people are losing interest in sports. To the contrary, that interest seems as strong as ever.

So I suspect that ESPN will be able to adjust its business model as viewership adjusts and remain profitable.

That's not to say that I think ESPN or Disney are invulnerable. When I was growing up in the 1970s, GM and Sears were regarded as invulnerable. The latter is now non-existent (right?) and the other is a shadow of its former self and needed a $50 Billion government bailout in 2009 to emerge from bankruptcy.

But I just wouldn't worry about them *because* of changes in how people are consuming sports. They are still consuming sports, which IMO is the more essential issue.
The reason for concern isn't about rising or declining interest in sports.

The reason for concern is that the old Cable model forced everyone who had cable TV to consume Sports whether they had any interest or not. ( I guess to get really really specific they were compelled to pay to consume Sports)
That's the revenues is drying up. And screaming is not going to replace that.

That's been balanced by the fact that sports are flat-out the only thing that commands a live audience, which is the only way you can get anybody to watch ads.

In the Cable Bundle era, if you had a property with a big loyal audience that wasn't inclined to switch, like sports or Fox News, you had leverage to impose that cost on everybody.

Now you don't

Well first, I think we are still in the "cable bundle era", in that I think most people are still subscribing to cable bundles. I am, for what that's worth.

Second, about the bolded, it does seem that ESPN still has leverage, in that IIRC, they are still able to command very high rates from cable carriers. IOWs, as a cable subscriber, ESPN is still able to impose that cost on me (which I willingly pay, btw).

The problem isn't that cable carriers are using leverage to force down ESPN carriage rates, it's just that fewer people are subscribing to cable and paying those rates. That's a different problem, IMO.

Nobody knows what will happen, but I don't really believe that ESPN's profitability is *mostly* dependent on millions of grannies with no interest in sports being forced to pay $10 for ESPN in order to get the cable channels they do want. I suspect its partially dependent on it, but they would still be profitable without that subsidy from non-sports fans.

Actually, I suspect the opposite is at least equally true - I'd much rather just pay $30 a month for all of my sports channels and shed the other non-sports channels that get bundled with them, but on balance its a good deal for me. So I suspect (with no data admittedly) that there are as many sports fans getting socked via cable with being forced to watch non-sports as there are people who don't want sports but are compelled to buy ESPN. We all get socked.

In the end, I think as delivery models change sports fans will still buy sports. And ESPN will do fine. We'll see.

It's sort of the Catch-22 that cable companies are in right now.

The largest reason why people are dropping cable is the cost, which is driven by sports networks more than anything else by far.

However, the largest reason why people *keep* cable is because they want sports. Cable no longer has much value once you remove sports and maybe the news networks.

These countervailing forces are both true at the same time and it's causing a conundrum for all media companies. Higher costs for sports has had a direct impact on decreasing total subscribers, but at the same time cable providers could conceivably increase the revenue/profit per subscriber for those that remain largely/entirely for sports.
05-25-2022 12:13 PM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #54
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 10:01 AM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:10 AM)goofus Wrote:  If ESPN is eventually turning into a streaming service, I am going to want to see the same options I get with Netflix, HBO or Hulu. Meaning...

1. An option to pay a higher price to get all content without ads and without commercial breaks. This also includes the option to start watching a game late, from the beginning.

2. Option to pay a cheaper price for content that does have ads. There are different ways to do this. You can cut away from live action to show commercials, then show replays when you get back. But mostly what you are watching is still live. Or another option is you watch the ads and resume watching where you left off, meaning you will be behind the live action. The streaming service should give you either choice.

For a live event, you just want a shot of midcourt instead of commercials? You don’t look at your phone already during commercials? How would ESPN make money to employ people if they can’t sell commercials to Bud Light and Pizza Hut?

Your higher price, would be astronomically high. What would you be willing to pay?

Further to your point, the value of eliminating ads for sports in any form is astronomical for the networks (as pretty much the entire point of those networks wanting sports programs in the first place is that they're the only programs where ads are really worth anything) and not really that impactful for the viewer since there are going to be breaks in the action, timeouts, and transitions for quarters/periods/halftime/innings that would otherwise be dead air, anyway. Even my son's Little League Baseball games have a few minutes of transition between each inning. These are athletes that need to warm up, stretch and/or have regular breaks to perform regardless of whether an event is on TV.

A lot of the ESPN+ streaming-only content actually has just a screen during breaks that essentially says, "We'll be returning to your program shortly" without ads and that's honestly really weird for me as a viewer. I'd honestly rather have ads than dead air or just a view of the stadium without any commentary.

I just don't put sports in the same category as scripted programs. A commercial break interrupts the flow of a scripted program or movie, so I absolutely pay extra for ad-less Hulu and will continue to do so for other platforms like Disney+ and Netflix even if they end up offering cheaper ad-inclusive options. I don't feel the same way about watching sports - there are *always* going to be regular breaks in the action, so it's natural to have commercials and it would honestly be strange to not have them. If you want to say that there are certain annoying "forced" breaks in the action (e.g. a commercial break followed by a kickoff immediately followed by another commercial break), then I certainly understand that argument, but that's quite different than eliminating ads entirely.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 12:29 PM by Frank the Tank.)
05-25-2022 12:27 PM
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Post: #55
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 12:27 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 10:01 AM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:10 AM)goofus Wrote:  If ESPN is eventually turning into a streaming service, I am going to want to see the same options I get with Netflix, HBO or Hulu. Meaning...

1. An option to pay a higher price to get all content without ads and without commercial breaks. This also includes the option to start watching a game late, from the beginning.

2. Option to pay a cheaper price for content that does have ads. There are different ways to do this. You can cut away from live action to show commercials, then show replays when you get back. But mostly what you are watching is still live. Or another option is you watch the ads and resume watching where you left off, meaning you will be behind the live action. The streaming service should give you either choice.

For a live event, you just want a shot of midcourt instead of commercials? You don’t look at your phone already during commercials? How would ESPN make money to employ people if they can’t sell commercials to Bud Light and Pizza Hut?

Your higher price, would be astronomically high. What would you be willing to pay?

Further to your point, the value of eliminating ads for sports in any form is astronomical for the networks (as pretty much the entire point of those networks wanting sports programs in the first place is that they're the only programs where ads are really worth anything) and not really that impactful for the viewer since there are going to be breaks in the action, timeouts, and transitions for quarters/periods/halftime/innings that would otherwise be dead air, anyway. Even my son's Little League Baseball games have a few minutes of transition between each inning. These are athletes that need to warm up, stretch and/or have regular breaks to perform regardless of whether an event is on TV.

A lot of the ESPN+ streaming-only content actually has just a screen during breaks that essentially says, "We'll be returning to your program shortly" without ads and that's honestly really weird for me as a viewer. I'd honestly rather have ads than dead air or just a view of the stadium without any commentary.

I just don't put sports in the same category as scripted programs. A commercial break interrupts the flow of a scripted program or movie, so I absolutely pay extra for ad-less Hulu and will continue to do so for other platforms like Disney+ and Netflix even if they end up offering cheaper ad-inclusive options. I don't feel the same way about watching sports - there are *always* going to be regular breaks in the action, so it's natural to have commercials and it would honestly be strange to not have them. If you want to say that there are certain annoying "forced" breaks in the action (e.g. a commercial break followed by a kickoff immediately followed by another commercial break), then I certainly understand that argument, but that's quite different than eliminating ads entirely.

Agreed. Nobody wants more commercials, but as you said, there are breaks in sports and gives the watcher time to get a snack and go to the bathroom. That’s why I was interested in what his price would be. I don’t think it would be something less than $50 a month for “ad free” ESPN.

I watch plenty of ESPN+ too. During breaks, I am usually looking at my phone and I can’t say that their break screen is better or worse than sitting through a commercial. Some commercials are entertaining and give you awareness of new products or services.
05-25-2022 12:47 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #56
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 12:27 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  If you want to say that there are certain annoying "forced" breaks in the action (e.g. a commercial break followed by a kickoff immediately followed by another commercial break), then I certainly understand that argument, but that's quite different than eliminating ads entirely.

In other words: Ads that fit into the normal breaks in a live sporting event are okay. Ad breaks that unnecessarily lengthen the game (e.g., stuffing 4 minutes of commercials into a timeout break that would otherwise take only 2 minutes, requiring extra stoppages for ad breaks, or requiring a league to have longer breaks between quarters or halves to stuff more ads in there) are not okay.
05-25-2022 01:00 PM
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Post: #57
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-24-2022 11:24 AM)Wedge Wrote:  
(05-24-2022 11:05 AM)CardinalJim Wrote:  ESPN / Disney has already started diversifying. You can get the ESPN, Disney, ESPN+ bundle on Premium Hulu at an additional cost.

Subscribers to "Hulu + Live TV", Hulu's streaming TV competitor to YouTube TV, get the "Disney Bundle" including ESPN+ at no additional cost. https://www.hulu.com/Live-tv

Too bad the Hulu Live TV service sucks compared to its peers.
05-25-2022 01:04 PM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #58
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 01:00 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 12:27 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  If you want to say that there are certain annoying "forced" breaks in the action (e.g. a commercial break followed by a kickoff immediately followed by another commercial break), then I certainly understand that argument, but that's quite different than eliminating ads entirely.

In other words: Ads that fit into the normal breaks in a live sporting event are okay. Ad breaks that unnecessarily lengthen the game (e.g., stuffing 4 minutes of commercials into a timeout break that would otherwise take only 2 minutes, requiring extra stoppages for ad breaks, or requiring a league to have longer breaks between quarters or halves to stuff more ads in there) are not okay.

Exactly!

I always find it funny (not in a ha-ha way) that MLB is constantly trying to find every way to shorten game lengths to the point where extra innings are simply wacky to me now (with the runner on 2nd automatically granted) when if you simply cut 30 seconds from each half-inning transition, that automatically cuts down the entire game length by 9 minutes alone. Of course, that means 9 minutes of ad sales that go away each game, so that's clearly a non-starter to the TV networks. As a result, we get a lot of attempts at rules regarding pitching mound visits, time between pitches, and finagling how extra innings work that barely nudge game time lengths at all.
05-25-2022 01:11 PM
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Post: #59
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 11:42 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  Well first, I think we are still in the "cable bundle era", in that I think most people are still subscribing to cable bundles. I am, for what that's worth.

75 million households are still in the bundle era. 25 million households are not. So for ESPN (and any cable network or media conglomerate), we're 25% of the way out of the bundle era.

Quote:The problem isn't that cable carriers are using leverage to force down ESPN carriage rates, it's just that fewer people are subscribing to cable and paying those rates. That's a different problem, IMO.

It's an intertwined problem. It's not that carriers are forcing ESPN's prices down, it's that we're probably close to the limit on how much ESPN (or Fox News or your local RSN) can jack that price up. DirectTV and YoutubeTV and the other cable-bundle-alternatives have all ditched the Sinclair / Diamond Sports / Ballys RSNs. And what it ESPN but an RSN that covers the whole country?

Quote:Nobody knows what will happen, but I don't really believe that ESPN's profitability is *mostly* dependent on millions of grannies with no interest in sports being forced to pay $10 for ESPN in order to get the cable channels they do want.

Well, you SHOULD believe it. ESPN has 75M subscribers. ESPN's top rated program in 2021 was the OSU-Clemson CFP semifinal. 19M viewers.
https://sportsbusinessjournal.com/Journa...tings.aspx

75M minus 20M is 55M. 55M non-sports fans. So about 73% of ESPN's subscriber revenue is coming from people who didn't watch the CFP semifinal.

Advertising is not that big a piece of the pie. Fox's financials are a lot easier to untangle than ESPN-Disney, so I'll use Fox with Fox News as vaguely comparable to ESPN. For Fox's cable operations (which basically means Fox News), advertising revenue was 22%, subcriber fees were 72%. (The rest is "Other", so IDK)

Heck, for Fox's TELEVISION operations, subscriber fees were 40%, advertising was 52%.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases...15732.html

Quote:Actually, I suspect the opposite is at least equally true - I'd much rather just pay $30 a month for all of my sports channels and shed the other non-sports channels that get bundled with them, but on balance its a good deal for me. So I suspect (with no data admittedly) that there are as many sports fans getting socked via cable with being forced to watch non-sports as there are people who don't want sports but are compelled to buy ESPN. We all get socked.

Except the programming the sports fans get socked for is cheap and easily replaceable. HGTV programming can be replaced with TLC programming very very easily.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2022 02:20 PM by johnbragg.)
05-25-2022 02:17 PM
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Post: #60
RE: ESPN loses eight million cable and satellite subscribers in 2021 - CFB implications
(05-25-2022 12:27 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 10:01 AM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(05-25-2022 09:10 AM)goofus Wrote:  If ESPN is eventually turning into a streaming service, I am going to want to see the same options I get with Netflix, HBO or Hulu. Meaning...

1. An option to pay a higher price to get all content without ads and without commercial breaks. This also includes the option to start watching a game late, from the beginning.

2. Option to pay a cheaper price for content that does have ads. There are different ways to do this. You can cut away from live action to show commercials, then show replays when you get back. But mostly what you are watching is still live. Or another option is you watch the ads and resume watching where you left off, meaning you will be behind the live action. The streaming service should give you either choice.

For a live event, you just want a shot of midcourt instead of commercials? You don’t look at your phone already during commercials? How would ESPN make money to employ people if they can’t sell commercials to Bud Light and Pizza Hut?

Your higher price, would be astronomically high. What would you be willing to pay?

Further to your point, the value of eliminating ads for sports in any form is astronomical for the networks (as pretty much the entire point of those networks wanting sports programs in the first place is that they're the only programs where ads are really worth anything) and not really that impactful for the viewer since there are going to be breaks in the action, timeouts, and transitions for quarters/periods/halftime/innings that would otherwise be dead air, anyway. Even my son's Little League Baseball games have a few minutes of transition between each inning. These are athletes that need to warm up, stretch and/or have regular breaks to perform regardless of whether an event is on TV.

A lot of the ESPN+ streaming-only content actually has just a screen during breaks that essentially says, "We'll be returning to your program shortly" without ads and that's honestly really weird for me as a viewer. I'd honestly rather have ads than dead air or just a view of the stadium without any commentary.

I just don't put sports in the same category as scripted programs. A commercial break interrupts the flow of a scripted program or movie, so I absolutely pay extra for ad-less Hulu and will continue to do so for other platforms like Disney+ and Netflix even if they end up offering cheaper ad-inclusive options. I don't feel the same way about watching sports - there are *always* going to be regular breaks in the action, so it's natural to have commercials and it would honestly be strange to not have them. If you want to say that there are certain annoying "forced" breaks in the action (e.g. a commercial break followed by a kickoff immediately followed by another commercial break), then I certainly understand that argument, but that's quite different than eliminating ads entirely.

This may seem weird, but I subscribe to the version of HULU that has ads, and I like that better than the Netflix I get that has no ads.

The reason? I am addicted to scrolling on my phone, and an ad gives me a break to do that. In the 90 seconds or so the ad is on, I can roll through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (even though I did that just 10 minutes ago, LOL).

Without ads, I have to create my own breaks by hitting the pause button like when watching Netflix or Disney+. And that makes soccer, which has no ad breaks, tough for me to watch, LOL.
05-25-2022 03:29 PM
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