ESPN has been in the news lately, mostly with Wall Street questions about subscriber losses. Indeed, there are some challenges as "cord cutting" becomes more popular, however, these days when ESPN buys rights to sports, they purchase not just the TV rights, but the digital assets in all forms.
ESPN President John Skipper was speaking at a ReCode conference last week and was asked about their business model going forward. Skipper talked about how ESPN views their multi-platform future.
Here is how it works:
On February 6th, the Golden State Warriors played The Oklahoma City Thunder. 3.2 million people watched the game. And then digital kicked in:
- 320,000 viewed via the WatchESPN app
- 350,000 used ESPN's simulated GAMECAST
- 450,000 watched highlights on the web and apps
- 700,000 had alerts and viewed other content including articles
In total, the game, which had 3.2 million TV viewers, ended up with 5 million impressions, and ESPN monetized all of those interactions. That's a 36% rise over the TV alone. As Larry David would say; "pretty, pretty good."
Today's audience expects content to be available and most significantly, curated, for all platforms and devices. Nobody is better at understanding the multi-platform future than the business of sports.