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Is ESPN on the Trading Block?

By October 21, 2021No Comments

Big question #1: Would Disney be willing to spin ESPN off into a separate company?

Quick answer: Possibly, but Disney denies a recent report from Puck.

Quote from unnamed Disney source:

“There are now conversations happening regularly at Disney about whether or not to spin off ESPN.”

Flashback: Is ESPN+ A Winner For Disney?

Why this matters: ESPN is the crown jewel of all cable networks with 2021 projected revenue of $10.3B.

Big question #2: How does ESPN make money?

Source of 2021 revenue for ESPN (% of total) according to Kagan:
1) Subscriber fees – $7.9B (77%)
2) Advertising – $2.4B (23%)
3) Total – $10.3B

Big question #3: How many people subscribe to ESPN?

Quick answer: 82M

ESPN subscribers through traditional pay-TV (YoY growth):
1) 2010 – 100M
2) 2011 – 99M (↓ 1%)
3) 2012 – 98M (↓ 1%)
4) 2013 – 99M (↑ 1%)
5) 2014 – 95M (↓ 4%)
6) 2015 – 92M (↓ 3%)
7) 2016 – 90M (↓ 2%)
8) 2017 – 87M (↓ 3%)
9) 2018 – 86M (↓ 1%)
10) 2019 – 85M (↓ 1%)
11) 2020 – 82M (↓ 4%)

Big question #4: What about ESPN+?

Quick answer: A direct-to-consumer (DTC) offering is the future for ESPN.  The challenge is replacing ≈ $658M (82M * $8.03) in monthly revenue from pay-TV fees when ESPN+ generates ≈ $66M (15M * $4.47).

 

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