This probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but as ESPN, and live sports in general, remain the last remaining hope for most traditional cable offerings, eventually the product offering isn’t worth the cost.
ESPN over the past two years has lost nearly seven million subscribers, as according to THR, Disney properties have seen collapsing metrics.
Conveniently, this massive decrease in the number of people subscribed to these traditional cable networks has come at a time where cord cutting, or ‘cord-nevering’ has started to peak. The number of people that pay for traditional cable packages that often bundle in Disney properties, specifically ESPN, decreases as well as more people turn to less expensive and sometimes more convenient methods of consumption.
It’s safe to assume that a good majority of these seven million cancellations are likely people who were never truly utilizing their ESPN subscriptions, and instead preferred the other content offerings that more commonly found its way to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
In other words, these users were likely subsidizing the cost of ESPN by paying quite a bit more for their entire cable packages. General breakdowns of individual network costs lead us to believe that ESPN is by far the most expensive channel in a package, while other networks are considerably cheaper. Thus it makes sense that people less interested in a 24 hour sports channel would likely find it easy to remove that element from their monthly entertainment budgeting entirely.
We will be monitoring this trend closely, as we fully expect these numbers to remain interesting with the rise of SVOD.