ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox will be joining forces to launch a sports streaming platform this year, marking yet another blow to cable television’s hegemony.
“The platform, which will be owned by a newly formed company with its own leadership team, does not yet have a name or a price. Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery will each own a one-third stake,” reported NBC News on Tuesday.
Audiences will either be able to directly subscribe to the new platform via an app or add it as part of a bundle with the streaming platforms Disney+, Hulu, and Max.
The platform will likely be geared toward strict sports fans and will feature all the broadcast and cable networks owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, and Fox, with an estimated starting price of around a whopping $45 to $50 per month. Such networks that might included will be ESPN and its sister networks (ESPN2, ESPNU, etc), the ABC broadcast network, TNT, TBS, TruTV, and Fox Sports.
“The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service.”
News of the merger comes as Americans have increasingly rejected cable television in favor of streaming – the cord-cutter phenomenon that has been on the rise now for close to a decade.
“For decades cable television had been a “cash cow” for their parent companies, those days however, are quickly coming to a close,” Forbes noted in October of last yer.
“In recent years, cable networks, with its dual revenue stream of subscriber fees and ad dollars, had helped to defray the startup costs of streaming video services such as Disney+ and Max that have amounted to billions of dollars. With many streaming platforms still unprofitable, the revenue generated from the cable industry, while still lucrative, has been tapering off,” it added.
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