To which I say: Someone hand me those solar panels!
We all look for those options -- legal and otherwise. Let’s stay with the “otherwise” for a moment: A new study released at NATPE says more than half of all Internet consumers in Latin America -- 110 million -- have, at one time or another, accessed “pirated” video/audio programming.
Now think about this: Verizon now claims one-third of all its FiOS TV business comes from a slimmed-down, modestly priced, “skinny” TV package, called Custom TV (which has drawn the anger from ESPN with a lawsuit saying Verizon is in breach of its pay TV distribution contract).
Draw a conclusion here that if traditional media networks and platforms don’t have their own options business-wise things can get much worse: not just people spending less on TV entertainment, but perhaps not spending anything at all for some of it.
In ESPN’s favor: Hardly anyone watches a live sport event on a time-shifted basis. That’s good news for TV advertisers -- and for TV viewers who increasingly want real-time -- which used to call it live -- TV content. But other cable networks -- with perhaps lots of scripted or reality shows? That is a different kind of TV consumption.
Sure ESPN has lost around seven million subscribers over the last two years -- around 7%. But let’s not all put the onus all on TV cable sports networks. Spike and MTV have each lost 7.5% during that time period; TNT and TBS, around 6%; and Discovery and Lifetime, about 5%.
Still, ESPN is a bellwether for how the business goes. It is perhaps the single strongest ad-supported cable network, even if you aren’t a sports fan.
All to say many cable networks don’t really have an issue when it comes to consumers looking at options: They have problems with narrow-minded TV business executives who aren’t generating their own heat and electricity.