Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

4 April 2018

TV streaming revolution charges ahead with ESPN Plus

It’s happening. With television viewing moving away from cable and satellite, it’s the streaming services taking control of our lives. The last fort to be overrun remains sports, especially live sports holding contracts with TV networks. ESPN’s been among the most hurt by these trends. But next week, here comes ESPN Plus.

ESPN PlusNow, the streaming service won’t carry the NFL, which is the big and final domino to fall. It’ll be carrying Major League Baseball, the NHL and a host of original programming, such as a Bobby Knight documentary.

But it speaks to how much – and how quickly – our TV habits are changing. It’s not just the cord cutters, although they account for lost revenue and ratings for traditional networks. (That is, except for ABC and Roseanne.) It’s everyone.

ESPN’s ratings are falling like they’re tripping on a series of banana peels down a stairwell. Even desperate attempts to replace the morning SportsCenter with Get Up! (which I kinda like) are failing in its first week. The numbers are less than what the morning SportsCenter was getting last year.

“So who’s left? It’s only the NFL. The key year is 2022, only four years away. That’s when the league’s contract with the TV networks runs out.”

So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

ESPN Plus joins Disney’s streaming initiative

ESPN Plus represents just one part of ESPN’s parent company’s dive into streaming. Disney unveils its own service next year, featuring content from Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Are you ready for the revolution? It’s already happened as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime make up a bulk of our viewing time. Even HBO and many other networks now supply subscription-based streaming services. And FilmStruck embodies a must-have for film lovers.

ESPN Plus reasonably prices at $4.99 per month (or $49.99 a year). Disney, seeing the writing on the wall, is leading the charge by bypassing the usual content deliverers (cable, satellite, even premium networks). Others are sure to follow.

So who’s left? It’s only the NFL. The key year is 2022, only four years away. That’s when the league’s contract with the TV networks runs out.

By then, the Bastille will be taken, and the revolution complete.

See more posts in the following related categories: Amazon Disney ESPN HBO Hulu Netflix


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