From the departure of several key executives, revenues dropping, big name commentators leaving and more, ESPN appears to be in some trouble. They’ve also been slow to adapt to the ever-changing streaming environment that is rapidly growing, leaving their viewership looking for alternatives.
Will their latest ad campaign help?
ESPN is going to, rather than try and develop a better way to consume their content, run a series of ads in an attempt to get viewers back focused on their live sports broadcasting and sports news coverage. Variety is reporting these new ads are an attempt at reminding viewers that if they’re looking at their phones, watching movies, streaming day-old TV, etc. aren’t getting the freshest sports news and content.
This seems like an awfully misguided effort, an attempt at reminding users that they best tune in and pay attention to ESPN otherwise the content will be gone forever. Your phone can wait. Netflix can wait, but 10 video clips of a baseball player making a diving catch in their nightly top 10, that, my friends, cannot wait. Apparently.
Perhaps this is just a stop gap before an inevitable push into more streaming-friendly distribution. But for now, pay attention or you might miss it.
ESPN has struggled to find a streaming medium that can be both cost-effective as well as big enough to not cannibalize their current live television. ESPN is currently one of the most expensive parts of a cable subscription, with the amount cable companies pay to the sports network being multiples larger than other television networks.
Rumors of a standalone streaming version of ESPN have been circulating for years, with some estimates placing an individual subscription costing upwards of $20. For that price, users are far better off considering a Sling TV subscription at the same price, including several other networks as well.