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THE INC. LIFE

Why ESPN’s New OTT Service May End up Being a Huge Bust

Disney recently announced ESPN’s new streaming service, which will cost $4.99 per month.

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BY Darren Heitner - 07 Feb 2018

Why ESPN's New OTT Service May End up Being a Huge Bust

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

This week, Disney announced that it is working on a new ESPN product that will be a streaming service costing the consumer only $4.99 per month for a subscription. At first glance, many may have been excited at the prospect of only being required to pay a small sum of money per month to watch their favorite sporting events.

Not so fast, my friend.

The new over-the-top (OTT) ESPN streaming service will not include coverage of the big games that cable networks such as ESPN and ESPN2 regularly broadcast. Instead, it will offer a myriad of other sports match-ups that the cables networks do not already cover.

I constantly hear that people do not care to watch what's already on ESPN and ESPN2. Why would they want a new service for less desirable games?

Disney says that the new service will provide live programming that will not otherwise be available on any of its channels. No thanks.

"You have to go 'all in' and disrupt your own business to compete in this space," says Scott Dunn, head of strategic partnerships at Bumpers, a multimedia application. "The one foot in, one foot out approach does more harm than good. There is no pragmatic thinking to this. No thought. It's ESPN/Disney patting themselves on the back for entering this space, but it will be a harsh reality soon enough. Why does Netflix succeed? Because it has pristine content."

Perhaps Disney sees a short-term uptick in interest based on the announcement, but when the covers are pulled off, the reality is that there is little entrepreneurial about the venture. It could turn out to be one big failure for the Worldwide Leader in Sports as it tries to understand what its role will be in a world where people continuously seem to gravitate toward cutting the cord.

This doesn't seem like a real solution to catering toward those on the path to cutting the cord.

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