Disney’s ESPN pay-TV linear channel has lost 914,000 customers in the US since December, according to Nielsen data compiled by Robert Seidman.
- ESPN and ESPN2 saw a 1.2 per cent fall in customers since December, with the latter dropping by 926,000
- Fox’s FS1 channel was dumped by 668,000 households, representing a 0.9 per cent decrease, with sister channel FS2 dropped by 423,000
- The Tennis Channel customer base fell by 1.28 million, equating to a 3.1 per cent drop
- NBC’s Golf Channel was dropped by 998,000, a 1.6 per cent decline
- BeIN Sports customers were down 7.5 per cent to 829,000
- MLB Network lost 1.2 per cent of its customer base, which equates to losing 488,000 subscribers
- NFL Network, NBA TV and Big Ten Network were relatively steady, seeing drops of 0.8 per cent, 0.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively
- The Spanish-language TUDN saw the biggest drop, losing 8.93 million households – a 27.2 per cent decrease
The numbers reflect the increasing trend of cord cutting, with Americans more willing to part ways with linear pay-TV channels to cut costs or rely on direct-to-consumer (DTC) products. A report from Samba TV found that 52 per cent of US households did not have a cable TV subscription, while research from Parks Associates found that 87 per cent had at least one subscription to a streaming service.
Considering the high cost of a pay-TV subscriptions, and the various sports streaming services now on the market, this trend shows little sign of stopping, presenting sports broadcasters with economic questions over the best way to replace that revenue and leaving rights holders with strategic issues in generating reach.