Posted: 2:58 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013
Following up on our recent posts about the rapidly changing world of Pay TV: cord cutting is often seen as an act of rebellion or disgust rather than an act of economic necessity. ESPN is worried that it is becoming a necessity for too many people, that, in essence, wage stagnation and rising cable rates are going to cripple ESPN’s base.
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That casts a different light on ESPN’s digital moves.
ESPN’s offerings right now run around $4.70 per subscriber via cable. Would cable cutters consider paying, say, $10.00 per month for the whole deal? And if so, what would that do to the rest of the industry?
Apple and several other companies including Intel and Sony are talking to ESPN. Apple is also talking to other folks like HBO. HBO is suggesting that the standalone service might cost $10-15 dollars, so figure the same or more for ESPN.
Also, Google is at least looking into acquiring DirecTV’s NFL package once the contract expires (Forbes is fairly skeptical)
After that, things could get muddled. Most of the dominant Internet providers are owned by cable companies, and if money is lost on cable bundles, metering will be the next big play, because you can’t really reach your audience currently without going through cable one way or another (Google Fiber could also be a significant change at some point in the future).
Anyway, it’s all wildly interesting. We’ll still be watching sports, even if we pay through the nose.