Tag Archives: Bundling

ESPN Is Talking to Dish, Others About New Streaming Packages

ESPN isn’t looking to sell directly to consumers. “We do not believe that right now to be good business,” Skipper said. Instead, ESPN is betting on preserving the traditional pay TV bundle. “We have no intention of changing that proposition. That is excellent business for us,” [John Skipper] said. Still, the realities of cord cutting haven’t been lost on Skipper. ESPN saw its subscribers decline last year, which contributed to a sell-off in media stock. “There have been some losses due to cord cutting,” Skipper acknowledged. – Janko Roettgers, Variety

Disney Says Skinny Bundles Are Hurting ESPN and Will Save ESPN

Disney says that the subscriber losses it has seen at ESPN, which it first started noting out loud last summer, come from people signing up for smaller pay TV packages, which don’t include ESPN. Disney also says that it is pleased with the traction it is seeing from Sling TV, a Web-based skinny bundle — it offers a couple dozen channels for $20 a month — that includes ESPN. Sling isn’t a giant hit — it likely has no more than 500,000 subscribers — but Disney CEO Bob Iger and his lieutenants repeatedly called it out on Tuesday, suggesting that ESPN would be working with other skinny bundles in the future. – Peter Kafka, Re/code

Cablevision and Viacom settle their lawsuits over channel bundling

photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty, Engadget

The two TV giants have settled their antitrust lawsuits with promises that they’re making “mutually beneficial business arrangements.” Neither side is saying what those arrangements are, however, and it’s not clear whether or not Cablevision is getting a better deal than what it had in 2012. This ruckus started because Cablevision didn’t like being forced to carry niche Viacom channels to get the big channels it wanted — this whole exercise would be pointless if the company didn’t get either a discount or more control. – Jon Fingas, Engadget

Hulu Blazing a New Path in Streaming TV

One big drawback for cable subscriptions is that they’re more one-size-fits-all than most consumers would like. If you want to watch a few baseball games per week and nothing else, you have to subscribe to a basic cable package with a sports package add-on. This may cost $50 or more, which may not be worthwhile for a few hours of baseball. […] The value of cable to each consumer is very different, but the price is often the same. This isn’t a great way for either side to do business. […] Streaming companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Time Warner’s HBO Now have far more options than cable ever had when it comes to commercials, how many streams you can run at a time, and even resolution. – Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

Cable companies pare down bloated TV bundles to stem tide of cord-cutters

photo: Jacob Kepler, Bloomberg

[O]ver the past year, the industry was forced to look at new models. Ratings reached record lows for many networks over the summer. In August, overall cable TV ratings were down 9 percent. The entire media industry was hammered on stock markets after Disney lowered its guidance for cable revenue, admitting it was feeling pressure on the traditional cable bundle. ESPN, a Disney property, draws the highest fees of networks in the cable bundle. And in the second quarter, 566,000 cable and satellite subscribers canceled their service. – Cecilia Kang, Washington Post

Welcome to the beginning of the end for pay TV bundles

photo: BGR

“The TV industry’s response has been cautious, licensing live feeds to DISH, SONY and, likely, AAPL for skinny bundle OTT services, but refusing to allow cloud-based DVR functionality,” [Paul Sagawa,Sector & Sovereign Research] wrote. “Trends suggest that online linear TV may prove less than popular. Hub Entertainment Research recently reported that 53% of all US video viewing is time-shifted – DVR, on-demand, or streaming – with millennials even less likely to watch linear TV. TWX and CBS have jumped in with on-demand streaming versions of their premium channels, but at price points too high to encourage cord cutting.” – Zach Epstein, BGR

The pay TV scam that’s hiding in plain sight

photo: BGR

If you have ever subscribed to a cable or satellite TV service, you have undoubtedly looked at the set-top box rental fee on your bill and been filled, at least momentarily, with anger. Not only do you have to pay ridiculous rates to watch TV, you have to pay another $5 or $10 or $15 or even more just to rent the box that lets you watch TV. Make no mistake — this is a scam. – Zach Epstein, BGR

Streaming Options Grow But Cable Still Looms Large

As these new offerings illustrate, un-bundling – the holy grail for cord-cutters who’d rather pay for channels a la carte – isn’t likely to become widespread. HBO is one of very few networks with both the viewer demand to make a standalone offering compelling for large numbers of consumers and the deep pockets to provide the necessary customer service and billing infrastructure such a move requires. Channel bundling is largely dictated by the content providers themselves. It’s no coincidence that Sling TV’s lineup includes not just ESPN, but the Disney Channel and ABC Family. They’re all owned by Walt Disney Company. which almost certainly made the inclusion of the latter two networks a requirement for allowing Sling TV to carry ESPN. – Amadou Diallo, Forbes
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Curation kills: Why Netflix is just as doomed as cable in the long run

So what happens once the luster of new-fangled cable alternatives wears off? The near future might be à la carte channels and services, but the long-term future is à la carte everything. As in, choose your own shows. That’s the only end game that makes any sense. Why stop at unbundled channels if each channel still contains loads of content you feel like you’re paying for but don’t watch? Why subscribe to multiple streaming services if more than half of each service is duplicate titles? What are channels if not branded bundles of entertainment? In the future, only the strongest brands will survive. – Eric Buchman, Digital Trends
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