There has been quite a bit of news this week about ESPN's struggles in the face of mounting subscriber losses. One big impact is the dismissal of another 100 employees, including several high-profile on air personalities.
The networks struggles are related to its shrinking audience. As THIS ARTICLE in Bloomberg points out, the network's audience has shrunk to its lowest level since around 2005.
Cable operators have been saying for years that rising programming costs, especially for sports content, are unsustainable. Some of us may take comfort in seeing cable's most expensive network struggling. However, no one expects the sports content that ESPN relies on to get any cheaper to purchase. And how might rising costs for sports and a shrinking audience combine to impact ESPN's programming rates when their current agreements with cable operators expire? They may seek significant increases to make up for the lower customer counts, a threat that should give us all pause before cheering their struggles.
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June 16, 2021
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