After a loss of 7 million viewers in 2 years, the sports network ESPN is contemplating a move that other channels have made. That move is launching their own over the top streaming service. For those that are not aware, that means the channel would be offered without a multi-channel operator, i.e. a cable or satellite company. As more and more people become cord-cutters, executives at Disney are taking a look at the network’s future, according to Breitbart.
Over the last several years, there has been a revolt against the big cable and satellite companies because people are tired of paying for channels they do not use. ESPN is one of the higher priced networks that viewers may not necessarily want. For those people that are sports fans, some keep their cable or satellite plans just so they can watch ESPN, others may be doing without.
That said, ESPN is not entirely new to the streaming game. Since the launch of Sling TV, ESPN has been part of their programming. The real question is, what will happen to Sling TV if ESPN decides to launch their own service? Would they be offered side by side as competitors? Another question is pricing. Disney has the licensing rights available, but what sort of cost would the normal user pay?
Truly, the next few months will be interesting for ESPN. If they decide to stay with the model of the last 35 years, they will fall even further behind. As cord cutting becomes more popular, offering their own OTT service may be another way to regain viewers. We will be watching to see, however, if Disney execs will make the sports network accessible to many by offering the service for a low price, or if they will increase the price so only the most dedicated of sports fans will subscribe. Once they do launch, be sure to use a SmartDNS service to watch outside the US.