ESPN President: We're Still Engaged In The Most Successful Business Model In Media History
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, John Skipper, head of Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)’s ESPN, discussed the sports network's subscriber exodus and how the company is adapting to the cord-cutting phenomenon.
ESPN has lost seven million subscribers in the past two years.
When asked the reason behind subscriber losses, Skipper blamed a transition to lighter cable packages.
"The people who've traded down have tended to not be sports fans and have tended to be older and less affluent," he explained. "We still see people coming into pay TV. It remains the widest-spread household service in the country after heat and electricity."
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When asked about the possibility of offering the network as a stand-alone online product for cord-cutters that have ditched cable TV for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and other streaming services, Skipper reiterated ESPN’s commitment to pay TV: "We're still engaged in the most successful business model in the history of media and see no reason to abandon it."
Despite the commitment to the current model, Skipper noted that the network has gotten positive results from testing direct-to-consumer content as well, including the sale of $100 subscriptions to last year's Cricket World Cup.
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