Could the Sports Leader be coming to a streamer near you?
Achording to Mathew Belvidere of CNBC ESPN, one of the most sought after cable channels available, will be available A La Carte. In An article posted today quoted Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger as saying
Why is there a five year bubble floating around the proverbial back yard waiting to burst when it comes to ESPN A la Carte? The dirty little not so secret about ESPN is that it is funded in great part by people who could care less about the service it offers. Not to say that this makes it any different than other basic cable channel, but what it means is that as viewers who do not value sports drop cable and satellite service, which is very much on the rise, then it means ESPN loses part of their revenue stream. As media companies lose subscribers they up the prices on services in order to make up for the subscriber losses. That in turn leads to more customers feeling the squeeze and dropping pay TV services. It should be a frighting scenario to look at not just for ESPN but other basic cable channels as well. ESPN unlike HBO has always been available without a premium price. So while HBO has been able to start offering an OTT service for $15.00, which is what people paid with cable packages, ESPN would have to create a new paradigm.
ESPN is not a network unto itself. Because ESPN is owned by Disney I would expect to see the network and the rest of the ESPN family; ESPN2 ESPNU, ESPN News, The SEC Network, ESPN Classic to be packaged with other properties such as ABC, multiple Disney Channel options and who knows what else Disney will purchase going forward, as a mini-bundle for what it considers a reasonable price. In fact I really think this is more likely how linear TV will work across the board going forward, but that is another story.