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SBD/August 31, 2012/Media
ESPN Continues To See Growth, Profit As It Expands Coverage Platforms
Published August 31, 2012
SPORTS ON THE GO: Seventy percent of sports content consumed on mobile devices "comes from one of ESPN’s mobile apps.” Many games broadcast on its WatchESPN app “aren’t yet carrying advertising, showing instead a 30-second ESPN logo during breaks in the action, since advertisers weren’t offered those rights when they bought time on the network a few months ago.” ESPN has “invested in creating content for a platform before business exists to support it.” ESPN Exec VP/Digital & Print Media John Kosner said, “We weren’t afraid of cannibalizing our (television) business if the fan liked it … even though the ad-serving technology just isn’t ready yet. We’re not afraid to be ahead of the market.” Greenfield writes while the “culture of the company should ward off complacency, the primacy of live rights might allow a competitor to emerge.” Greenfeld: “Could, say, NBC Sports Network or Fox buy the rights to enough high-profile sports to become a viable alternative to ESPN? … Wouldn’t cable subscribers start clamoring for the NBC Sports Network, which might lead cable operators to negotiate lower rates with ESPN? It’s possible, but still remote.” Skipper “discounts” the risk that ESPN will “overextend itself, paying too much for live sports that fail to generate new revenue.” Skipper “stresses ESPN’s multiplatform advantage.” He said, “Print, radio, broadcast television, cable television, Internet, mobile applications. To date there are no competitors who have assets in all those media” (BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, 8/30 issue).