Thursday, June 1, 2017

Another Bad Month For ESPN

New data shows the Disney flagship sports channel losing 3.8 percent of its subscribers in May, as cable cord cutters continue to defect to streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

According to The NYPost, ESPN’s rate of attrition is nearly a third higher than the median drop of 2.9 percent for cable channel subscriber losses during the month, according to Nielsen’s latest estimates based on its viewing panel.

According to Nielsen, ESPN was in 86.9 million households as of May, down 3.3 percent from 89.8 percent a year earlier.

The statistical breakdown comes from Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research who notes that big media companies still get paid affiliate fees despite the changes, and that the impact is more likely to be felt on advertising revenue.

Wieser notes that May’s drop in pay TV subscribers came despite the fact that the overall number of TV-watching households actually grew by 1.7 percent.

Among the worst hit in May were Time Warner’s Boomerang channel, which lost 9.6 percent of subscribers. A host of Viacom channels were also hit, including CMT, down 9.6 percent; MTV Class, down 8 percent; and Spike, getting a reboot as Paramount Network, down 6.6 percent.

Viacom has said it is focusing its energy and efforts on its so-called “flagship six” networks, which include BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount.

Of the 120 channels tracked, only 16 channels grew subscribers, according to Wieser’s report.

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