The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Chandran & Launder wonder what will happen to cable TV operators when bundled packages "begins to unravel." The question is "taking on intense importance for the cable-TV business, which for decades has forced customers to subscribe to groups, or bundles, of channels -- whether they wanted them or not." SNL Kagan data shows that Disney draws more than $10B in "such fee revenue, mostly from its majority-owned ESPN group of channels." That is "about a third" of the $31.6B expected to be generated industrywide by such fees this year, excluding premium services like HBO and broadcast outlets. ESPN "gets $5.54 per subscriber a month, while Viacom's MTV gets 41 cents per subscriber" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/1).
SUBSTANCE AND STYLE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes MSG Network analyst Walt Frazier's performance during Wednesday's Warriors-Knicks game "was one of his most memorable." It provided "another reason as to why he needs to be taken seriously as a pure analyst, not a Gulag sideshow." It is often easier remembering what Frazier "wore than what he said" during a broadcast. It is always "more about the persona of Clyde than Walt Frazier the analyst," but it "should not be that way." ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy said of Frazier, "Going back I didn’t think he was very well-prepared or very good. Now, I think he’s gotten very, very good. It’s gone beyond the rhyming" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/1).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: In St. Louis, Derrick Goold noted former MLBer So Taguchi "has been hired by NHK in Toyko as a studio commentator for almost a third of the 300 major-league games that will be televised back in Japan." The attention "will be mostly focused on Japanese players" (STLTODAY.com, 2/26)....In DC, Dan Steinberg reported MASN's Nationals sideline reporter Kristina Akra, who started in the position before last season, "will not be returning" this year. Akra is "leaving for another as-yet-unannounced on-air opportunity" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/25)....Former Pro Football Weekly Senior Editor Mike Wilkening has joined Pro Football Talk as "a part-time scribe" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 2/27).