Cord cutting has continued to grow in 2016 and that has resulted in bad news for cable channels. Maybe one of the most impacted has been ESPN.
In 2016 ESPN hit an 11-year low in viewers as traffic has been slowly dropping since 2011. What is even more scary for Disney is the fact that ESPN makes up an estimated 70% of the profit Disney sees every year.
Now ESPN is not the only channel to see plummeting viewership and subscribers but it is maybe the most shocking. Even worse is the drop in revenue that has started Disney investors demanding Disney sell off ESPN.
However, Disney has given no hints that it plans to sell ESPN. Evidence is starting to point to the fact that Disney is doubling down on ESPN with a standalone streaming service. Although details are thin Disney recently purchased a majority ownership in BamTech, the company behind many streaming services including MLB.TV.
There have even been rumors that Disney and Netflix are in talks with the possibility of Disney buying Netflix. Disney was even at one point looking at buying Twitter with the goal of getting access to the sports rights that Twitter recently acquired from the NFL, Pac-12, NBA, and others.
For now even with the lower numbers ESPN is still profitable and Disney still has time to make changes. The question now is will Disney take a quick pay out to get out of ESPN when it is still fairly strong.
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