ESPN viewership plummets, rising costs result in mass lay-off

MUMBAI: Trimming around 10 per cent of writers and on-air talent, plans to lay off around 100 ESPN employees is under way, including Len Elmore, Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell, former athletes who worked as broadcasters -- the aim being switching to a digital strategy.

While longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder was among the first to state that he had been laid off, Kanell is among the newest wave of layoffs. In October 2015, ESPN, which employs 8,000, laid off around 300.

The pruning, an ESPN decision as it recasts itself for the future and not a mandate from the parent -- Disney, will affect "front-facing" employees. But, the people who have contracts will see those deals fully honoured.

ESPN head John Skipper announced that it was beginning its next round of layoffs, a long-apprehended move. Skipper had said that it wanted to provide continuous distinctive content on multiple screens, with more personality-oriented 'SportsCenter' broadcasts.

ESPN, which has a tie-up with Sony Pictures in India, is into its 36th year but it has been troubled by escalating fees to broadcast live events at the same time millions of cord-cutting television viewers who have been canceling their ESPN subscriptions. Over the past five years, the network lost around 12 million subscribers as the viewers sought cheaper entertainment avenues. At the same time, the money ESPN has paid to the professional sports leagues to acquire their live events steadily climbed.

ESPN used to be in around 100 million houses, and now it's in less than 87 million, according to Nielsen. And, ESPN commands around 7 per subscriber per month, so that loss ends up being a lot of money.

Last year, the network's new nine-year agreement with the NBA to telecast pro-basketball games cost around US$1.5 billion per year, a significant increase over the previous deal. The network also had paid NFL US$1.9 billion (annual), NCAA conferences and the College Football Playoff (well over US$1 billion), and Major League Baseball ($700 million). Some of those deals would be up for renewal in the near future.

Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent necessary to meet those demands, Skipper said.

ESPN's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., in February 2017, blamed the network for an 11 per cent drop in operating income in its cable TV division during the final quarter of 2016.

Also Read

IPL Impression: Sony Six & ESPN double, Ten1 & 2 halve

Sony Pix & ESPN to telecast Global Powerboat Racing live from 3-5 March

Biswas new ESPN head - southeast Asia; Cooke expands role

Pro-wrestling: SonyLiv, Max & ESPN to beam live from 2-19 Jan

Latest Reads
Shemaroo's third quarter numbers improve, digital revenue increases

BENGALURU: Indian integrated media content house Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd (Shemaroo) reported 15.3 percent higher y-o-y consolidated total revenue for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 (Q3 2018, the quarter under review) at Rs 132.85 crore as compared with Rs 115.22 crore in Q3 2017. Revenue...

Television Production House Online Content
&Prive to showcase top notch film titles at prime time

MUMBAI:  Ooh la la! Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's premium English movie channel &prive has even bigger plans to tickle the fancy of its exclusive audience. The channel has announced that its prime time programming slot from 9 pm to 12 pm every day will feature some very recent gee-whiz...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Star India gets IPL to change match timings for 11th edition

MUMBAI: When Star India announced that it was coughing up a jaw dropping Rs 16,347.50 crore to acquire the all media rights of the prized IPL, it signaled an era of change. And more of that is coming. Star India  has managed to convince the The IPL governing council (GC) to change the timings for...

Television TV Channels Sports
FOODFOOD announces veeba cook off powered by Daawat Basmati Rice and Tata Sampann

Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this! FOODFOOD Pro an initiative of FOODFOOD, India's premier 24x7 Food and Lifestyle channel is proud to announce an intense and exciting eleven - episode series, VEEBA COOK-OFF, a challenge, that is purely ‘By the Professionals and For the Professionals'. This...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Celebrate Republic Day with megastar league on Sony Max 2

MUMBAI: On Republic Day get ready for an all day long movie marathon with India’s iconic Hindi movie channel from Sony Pictures Networks, SONY MAX 2. Binge-watch the movies of some of Bollywood’s megastars throughout the day on 26th January with SONY MAX 2’s Megastar League. 

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
2017 blockbuster hit 'Golmaal Again' will make its television premiere on star gold this friday

Star Gold is kicking off the year with the World Television Premiere of one of the most succesful films of 2017, Golmaal Again, that raked in over 200 crores at the box office and set it on fire with its unmatched gags and action. The film that left audiences in splits of laughter and many ‘...

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
BBC Worldwide India announces partnership with Applause Entertainment

BBC Worldwide India has announced a partnership with Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment that will see the two organisations working together to develop and produce Indian versions of iconic BBC formats.

Television Production House Non-Fiction
Bring in Republic Day with the award-winning political comedy VEEP on Star World

Our 68th Republic Day is just around the corner and considering the political scenario in our country and globally, Star World has lined-up a marathon of a show that is not only entertaining but also takes a satirical view into what goes on behind-the-scenes in government policy-making and...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
ZEEL president - Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Mr. Avnindra Mohan conferred prestigious "CA Distinguished Achiever - 2017" Award by ICAI

Mr. Avnindra Mohan, President – Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd has been selected as the winner of the prestigious award in the category “CA Distinguished Achiever-2017” for exceptional performances and achievements by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of...

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories