ESPN lost half-a-million subscribers in the month of April, adding to a massive hemorrhaging of customers which now hovers around 14 million over the last seven years.
While the numbers were catastrophic across the board for the national networks, only NBCSN lost more households than ESPN.
According to Awful Announcing, “ESPN (-500,000), FS1 (-328,000), NBCSN (-544,000), TBS (-490,000), and TNT (-495,000) were all hit hard too. And that’s perhaps especially concerning considering that it’s prime playoff time for NBCSN (the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs), as well as ESPN and TNT (the NBA playoffs). These are not out-of-season drops, but drops at a time while those networks have some of their best content. So there are certainly some things to worry about there.”
Those worries are exacerbated by the fact that ESPN launched their brand new morning show Get Up! in April. A show which takes place in a studio that reportedly cost $35 million to build, and is hosted by three personalities who make nearly $15 million a year.
Most networks consider launching an expensive new show while losing 17,000 subscribers a day, to be less than ideal.
Yet, while April’s loss of 500,000 subscribers is certainly bad, the network hasn’t lost households in those numbers over the last 15 months. ESPN has lost roughly 1.6 million subscribers from February of 2017, until now. That rate of loss comes out to just over 100,000 subscribers each month. No one wants to lose customers in any numbers, though, that kind of loss is sustainable for an immensely wealthy network operating under the Disney banner.
However, if April’s losses of 500,000 become the new normal over the next year or so, that would cause ESPN’s new leadership to downsize the “worldwide leader” in a way that would dwarf the layoffs of 2017.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn