ESPN is being hurt by people ditching cable, and the company is in talks to expand its presence in online streaming services, according to president John Skipper.
At Re/code’s Code Media conference, Skipper admitted ESPN had seen “
some losses due to cord cutting.” This includes people who have downgraded their cable packages to smaller bundles that shave off ESPN.
But ESPN is looking for ways to stop the bleeding, and a primary one is getting into more “online TV” bundles. Skipper mentioned that ESPN is talking to Dish in particular, which already carries a version of ESPN on Sling TV. Sling TV gives cord cutters a skinny bundle of channels including ESPN for $20 a month. But ESPN is looking to bulk up its offerings.
Skipper declined to comment on whether ESPN was in negotiations with Amazon or Apple, but indicated that deals with multiple companies are being explored.
As of December, ESPN had lost about seven million subscribers in the previous two years down. That means ESPN left an estimated $1.3 billion in subscriber revenue on the table in 2015, compared to what it would have made with steady cable company growth.
Here is a chart of ESPN’s expected revenue had cord-cutting not spiked:
But that doesn’t mean the company is haemorrhaging money. Because it is able to charge significantly more per consumer, ESPN’s revenue has actually gone up. Here is a chart of that growth:
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