ESPN Loses 1.2 Million Subscribers in Two Months: Report
Sports giant ESPN has lost nearly 1.2 million subscribers in just two months, the latest figures show.
The Disney subsidiary lost 621,000 subscribers in October and lost another 555,000 during November, according to Nielsen’s December 2016 Cable Coverage Estimates.
The loss of one subscriber amounts to about $7 per month, or around $80 per year, meaning ESPN and Disney could lose a significant amount of revenue.
ESPN lost about 279,000 subscribers in September, figures show.
At the same time, ESPN2 shed approximately 595,000 subscribers and ESPNU lost more than 700,000, Nielsen said, per the Huffington Post.
The sports network has claimed that a rising interest in streaming and digital platforms has prompted the loss in subscribers.
But some conservative websites have claimed that ESPN is losing its subscribers because on-air personalities have been guilty of political posturing.
ESPN writer Jim Brady recently noted an increase in on-air discussions about politics, saying it triggered a network-wide internal conflict. He said that ESPN pundits generally had a liberal slant.
“Internally, there’s a feeling among many staffers—both liberal and conservative—that the company’s perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing products. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some,” Brady wrote.
It’s worth noting that ESPN’s competitors have also experienced a loss in subscribers. Fox Sports 1 and 2 lost a net 730,000 subscribers. Fox Deportes, meanwhile, lost 750,000.
In a statement, the network remained confident.
“We remain at the forefront of the industry,” the network stated, “and no one is navigating change better than Disney and ESPN,” reported The Huffington Post.
Last month, the network also refuted Nielsen’s numbers, saying the firm’s internal data doesn’t reflect Nielsen’s loss in subscribers. The Nielsen figures, meanwhile, don’t show ESPN’s growth on other platforms such as PlayStation Vue.
According to Deadline Hollywood, “Disney’s other sports channels fared better. ESPNU had 71 million subs, down 1.4%. ESPNEWS and SEC Network—not measured by Nielsen—were flat based on December data from SNL Kagan. The former had 70 million subs and the latter had 62 million.”