ESPN Shift to Digital: ESPN is changing from a TV channel to an online company. The boss, Jimmy Pitaro, said they might work with sports leagues as partners, but not as the main owners.
At a really important meeting put together by CNBC and Boardroom, which was made by Kevin Durant, Pitaro talked about how the TV channel wants to work together with others to make really cool stuff. They might even team up with sports leagues. While he refrained from naming specific leagues, I engaged in talks with him and Walt Disney Co. The CEO, Bob Iger, said that Pitaro mentioned that lots of different companies from the technology, marketing, and distribution area have also shown interest.
Introducing a direct-to-consumer product to access ESPN’s content is an inevitable step for the network. Pitaro said that ESPN will definitely launch a service for viewers to watch their shows.
without needing cable.
When sports leagues own part of a big media network like ESPN, it could be really cool. But it also makes us wonder if the news and stuff they show will be fair and unbiased. This novel would further evolve the relationship between sports entities and broadcast partners.
Some pro teams own parts of local sports networks, but the big American sports leagues have their own TV channels. ESPN’s future within the Disney framework has also been a topic of speculation.
Bob Iger recognizes the importance of live sports and the ESPN brand in creating the Walt Disney Company’s future, Pitaro said.
With cable viewership on the decline, a direct-to-consumer option becomes crucial to mitigate financial losses. Right now, ESPN has 72.5 million people who pay for cable and 25.3 million people who use their streaming service called ESPN+. This shows that a lot of people could use their digital platform.
However, Pitaro did not provide a specific timeline for the release of the direct-to-consumer product. It’s important to know that right now, people who have ESPN+ still need to have a cable subscription in order to watch certain things.
According to Aryeh Bourkoff, Chairman and CEO of LionTree, the transition from a linear to a digital model can be challenging. He said that working together with other companies is really important in today’s business world, just like how Netflix and Amazon have changed a lot over time.
Bourkoff thinks that working together will be really important for doing well in the tough online world.
As ESPN tries to change, the sports media industry will pay close attention to how it does in the digital world.