This may come as a shock to some of you, but I haven’t had cable in at least six months. With so many television shows and live sports available for streaming online, I just don’t see the point. I watch almost everything online now, and more and more people I know are beginning to do the same. So it’s no surprise that at least one company is taking advantage of this expanding demographic and making a run at getting people like me to pay for their service.
Dish Network will soon be launching a streaming-only cable package called Sling TV that includes a ton of basic cable channels, but the biggest news of all is that among those channels will be ESPN.
Here’s a short excerpt from TheVerge.com:
“But what is Sling TV? For $20 a month — yes, twenty dollars — you get access to a lineup of cable networks that includes TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Disney Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2. ESPN is obviously a huge get for Dish and could earn Sling TV plenty of customers all on its own. ESPN just ended another year as TV’s leading cable network, and now you won’t need a traditional cable package to watch it. For sports fanatics, that could prove enticing. But Dish has hinted that there may be limits on watching ESPN on mobile thanks to red tape from existing deals between the network and Verizon. We’ll need to wait for the specifics on that.”
This is a game-changing announcement, because many people thought this kind of thing would never happen, or at the very least that it would take a lot longer for the guys at the big media companies to catch on. Sports is unique among mass media content because of its timeliness. A big part of the thrill is watching the game live, never sure of what’s happening next.
At the same time, there are monetary reasons why I was skeptical before I heard this news. ESPN currently charges cable providers an enormous amount of money to carry their networks, basically because they can. As you read above, it’s the top-rated cable network in the country, and it’s really in it’s own atmosphere when it comes to ratings and revenue. The conventional wisdom was that ESPN would be losing money if it offered its networks like this via a streaming only service.
On the other hand, since its so easy to find a free stream of any college or NFL game online, maybe they feel like they’re losing money by not doing this. Couple this with a Netflix and/or Hulu membership and the fact that HBO announced that you’ll soon be able to pay for HBO Go without a normal cable subscription, and there soon won’t be any reason to pay for cable ever again.
Dish Network did not announce exactly when the new service will launch.
Read the full article here.
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