The scariest chart in cable television

As more and more “cord cutters” ditch cable, ESPN is seen as the biggest reason cable television is not going the way of the dodo anytime soon. The biggest reason for that is live sports, the one thing that people still have to watch as it airs. But even when it comes to ESPN, there are still some troubling signs, as you can see in the chart below.

After a meteroic rise that saw the number of homes with ESPN surpass 100 million in 2011, that number has been in steady decline, dropping 7.2% to 92.9 million in just four years. If ESPN and their family of networks are seen as the key to cable television, the industry is in serious trouble.

It is hard not to see this chart and link it to the cost-cutting going on at the network, and the $US10 million ESPN saved by letting three of their most prominent voices walk away.

Of course, this doesn’t mean ESPN is in trouble. The network is still able to charge cable carriers $US6.04 per subscriber, $US4.56 more than any other network, according to the Wall Street Journal and their digital properties reached more than 75 million unique viewers in 2014.

But as the number of cable subscribers dwindles, ESPN is already looking at alternatives that could eventually include a standalone subscrition option for ESPN. Once that happens, cable television will change forever.

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