Sports TV Comprises Most Cable Costs

Sports cable channels are expected to continue to weigh down the bulk of cable channel costs for pay TV providers — climbing at a faster rate than virtually all other cable channels over the next few years.

On average, SNL Kagan says pay TV providers spent $1.03 per month per subscriber for sports channels in 2013, which will soar to $1.37 by 2018 — a five year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3%.

SNL Kagan says the top sports network — and overall cable network — cost is ESPN, at $6.04 subscriber per month.

After sports  far down the list — come film-centric cable channels, which sits at 81 cents a month, and are expected to see flat costs for pay TV providers for the next four years.

General/variety cable networks will nearly match the annual cost growth of sports channels — 7.2% — growing an average 51 cents a month in 2018 from 39 cents a month this year. Family and kids channels will climb 5% per year to 35 cents in four years from 29 cents in 2014.



SNL Kagan says the overall average per cable network cost is at 39 cents a month per subscriber in 2014 — growing 5.4% per year to 48 cents a month in four year. It had been 37 cents a months at the end of 2013.

Research says now on average the pay TV provider, excluding broadcast networks, PPV and some a la carte programming, has just under 100 channels in 2014 — 99.6 — up from 96.2 channels in 2013.

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