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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
     

Inside the Stream Podcast: ESPN is Getting Squeezed From All Sides

Cord-cutting is accelerating. Deep-pocketed Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, Google) are scooping up marquee sports rights in an effort to add value to their services businesses. Linear TV viewing is collapsing. Consumers' attention is fragmenting as myriad social media and other activities beckon for eyeballs.

As Colin and I discuss on this week’s episode, ESPN finds itself at the center of this storm, as the venerable TV network gets squeezed from all sides. Adding urgency to the problem, and as we also explore this week, Sinclair's Diamond Sports Group, which owns Bally Sports, a big collection of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) acquired from Disney as part of its Fox deal, is edging toward declaring bankruptcy.

While Diamond’s demise is closely tied to the debt it incurred by overpaying for the Fox RSNs in 2019, it raises more consequential questions about the health of the sports TV ecosystem - and therefore the value of sports broadcasting rights themselves. These rights have been funded primarily through the “sports tax” on pay-TV subscribers who are not sports fans (see “Not a Sports Fan, Then You’re Getting Sacked for At Least $2 Billion Per Year,” which I wrote back in February, 2011). Non-sports fans are getting soaked for far more than this in 2023, with huge - and mostly unknown - sums embedded in their monthly pay-TV bills (partly contributing to escalating cord-cutting).

Net, net, the delicate equilibrium in the sports TV ecosystem is under major pressure. With respect to ESPN, newly reinstated Disney CEO Bob Iger has a pressing - yet until recently unimaginable - question to address: long-term, is ESPN still a good business? And if it’s not, should Disney keep the network anyway, or seek to sell it off?

Listen to the podcast to learn more (30 minutes, 18 seconds)




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PERSPECTIVE  What's this?

CTV Needs Real Measurement - and Ratings Are Just a Tiny Piece of It

Posted by:
Sean Doherty Jr.
COO and Co-Founder, Wurl

While not all that surprising in hindsight, a recent study uncovered a minor bombshell in CTV advertising: brands are throwing away more than $1 billion a year in advertising spend due to the fact that their commercials are playing on streaming platforms even while TVs are off.
 
How is this possible? Viewers don’t always exit or pause the streaming app they’re using before hitting the power button on their TV; the shows (and the ads) are still running in the background. About 17% of ads on TVs connected through streaming devices are playing while the TV is off, and being delivered to no one at all.
 
What makes this revelation all the more astonishing is the fact that today’s CTVs are digital and connected to the Internet, which is home to the most trackable, measurable media in our world’s history.
 
Yet, while CTV brings a lot of promise to targeting a growing number of consumers, measuring what and when those individuals are watching is still too hard. For CTV to realize its full potential – and justify ad spend from brands – we need to treat it like a true Internet-connected medium. Let’s look at three steps the industry can take to move in the right direction.

Read More

Category:
Advertising

Topic:
Wurl

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