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State of the Screens

Can a New President and Streaming Service Help ESPN Win Again?

By April 3, 2018No Comments

The big question: Can ESPN continue to grow subscribers and revenue with new leadership and launch of streaming service?

ESPN peaked in 2010 in terms of subscribers with 100M.

How ESPN makes money (% of total):
1) Subscriber fees — $9.5B (79%)
2) Advertising — $2.6B (21%)

Share of sports viewing:
1) ESPN — 33%
2) Fox — 21%
3) NBCU — 16%
4) CBS — 12%
5) Time Warner — 5%

Flashback: What The ESPN Critics Are Missing

An excellent counter argument to the ESPN is dead theme w/ quarterly profit estimates @ various subscriber levels and monthly pricing ($7.21 + 25% price increase):
1) 80m subs — $1.4B — $2.0B
2) 70m subs — $800M — $1.5B
3) 60m subs — $500M — $1.1B
4) 50 subs — $200M — $750M

ESPN+: The streaming service will be an extension of the linear service (ala Fox Nation) with a monthly cost of $4.99.

Remember Fox/Disney deal: ESPN would get 22 regional sports networks (RSN) from Fox if the deal goes through.

These RSNs currently carry 44 different MLB, NBA, and NHL franchises and air 5K+ live sports events every year.

A few of the markets where Fox has an RSN:
1) New York
2) Los Angeles
3) Dallas
4) Cleveland
5) Detroit
6) Kansas City

YES Network: New York pay-TV subscribers pay $6.50/month for the YES Network which means that Disney would be collecting more than $15/month for sports (ESPN + YES) from every pay-TV subscriber in New York.

More: Turner Sports Unveils ‘Bleacher Report Live’ Pay-Streaming Service

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.