Full ESPN As A Streamer For $30 A Month - Take A Big Swing

Imagine ESPN as a stand-alone streaming app. Then consider the price tag. Think about an eye-opening $29.99 a month.

Legacy pay TV consumers might actually buy in.

This came from Michael Morris, media analyst for Guggenheim Securities, in response to words from Bob Iger, chief executive officer of Walt Disney, on CNBC, about the inevitability that ESPN -- the dominant cable network group -- will need to go direct-to-consumer (D2C) in its entirety.

For Walt Disney, this would be a dramatic switch -- going well beyond the limited programming slate that ESPN+ currently provides as a premium streaming platform. 

ESPN+, which is currently priced at $9.99/month, has a modest program schedule due to Disney's effort not to step on the toes of its largely exclusive traditional TV distributor's deals -- cable, satellite, virtual and telco -- that it has made for ESPN for decades.



But let's go bigger. Morris says: “An ESPN streaming service at $29.99 monthly or $300 annually is a consumer-friendly option relative to a pay TV bundle that ranges in costs from $75 for a virtual pay TV provider to  exceeding $100 for a traditional cable or satellite [bundle].”

The point is that traditional pay TV users -- who are loyal sports fans -- might just consider that $29.99 a month is a fair price, given they can save up to $60 a month. That $60 a month could go toward other premium streamers, which could also include live TV content -- national or local TV news for example.

From the perspective of current legacy pay TV providers that carry ESPN, he adds that at a consumer price of $30 a month, they shouldn't get too upset when the current wholesale price that pay TV distributors pay is around $10 a month.

“We believe establishing a price point for ESPN that highlights the value within the [traditional] pay TV] bundle -- which we view as disproportionately driven by sports anyway -- moves the business and the network close to rationalization.”

Yeah, but still... $30 a month! Sounds like a lot when I am only paying around $15 for Netflix, Disney+, or Max.

Floating that price around may get some interest -- and reaction. As a comparison, current regional sports networks, which are transitioning to streaming, price those efforts also around $29.99 a month.

Maybe those regional sports networks (RSNs) might then act as a test for what is to come.

Next story loading loading..