SBD/June 7, 2012/Media

Skipper Says Authentication Process For WatchESPN Needs To Get Easier

One of the biggest issues facing sports media companies these days is figuring out how to authenticate cable subscribers so they can watch content on broadband and mobile devices, ESPN President John Skipper told attendees at the "TV 3.0 presented by the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame" event in N.Y. yesterday. Skipper pointed to his company's WatchESPN app, which he described as easy to use once subscribers figure out the username and password they use with their cable provider. Skipper: "It's not as easy as we wish it was to authenticate. It's got to be easy. ... We can't ask people to take out the cable bill and figure out your number."

QUICK HITS: In a wide ranging interview with Broadcasting & Cable Editor Ben Grossman, Skipper spoke of the likelihood that a digital media company will make a big bet on sports, and said, "I don't think people are going to YouTube to watch the Yankees any time soon. ...I don't think Facebook or Google will be buying sports rights." On losing the World Cup to Fox Sports, Skipper quipped, "When it comes around in '18 and we don't have it, it will be painful." On whether the L.A. market can support five RSNs, Skipper said, "There's a lot of power in the Lakers and Angels. That is why those businesses can work." Asked to comment on Jets QB Tim Tebow, Skipper stated, "I'm John Skipper, not Skip Bayless."

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