According to the Wall Street Journal, in just a little more than a year, cable giant ESPN has lost over 3.2 million subscribers. Because ESPN is the biggest rip-off artist in the bundled cable world, that is a loss off almost a quarter of a billion dollars per year — a loss that has nothing to do with ratings or revenue dollars.
How does the math work?
You, you dupe, are paying ESPN $6 a month through your cable bill. Whether you watch the left-wing sports network or not, if it is part of the cable package you are forced to pay for in order to get the networks you do want, ESPN (owned by Disney) is making a cool $72 a year off of you.
How’s that for a sweet racket? And it’s not just ESPN gouging you through your already-obscene cable bill. You’re keeping CNN and MSNBC and a host of other networks alive through the same con.
Thanks to the streaming services owned by Netflix and Amazon, however, that immoral gravy train is slowly coming to an end, and shareholders are so concerned that Disney is holding conference calls to reassure everyone that ESPN is going to be just fine. Nevertheless, Disney Chairman Bob Iger is also talking about offering ESPN a la carte, as a live steaming channel.
And here’s where the scope and breadth of the bundled cable con really hits home.
Analysts believe that in order for ESPN to continue its current revenue stream, the streaming subscription monthly cost would need to be $30, or five times the $6 the sports network is currently charging.
In other words, ESPN believes that when given the option to NOT pay for ESPN, 80% will choose not to.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC