ESPN continues to suffer amid the pay-TV industry’s migration to skinnier programming bundles, with ESPN and ESPN 2 each losing around 2.2 million subscribers since February, according to just-released Nielsen data.
Since February 2011, Nielsen said, the flagship ESPN has lost more than 11.3 million customers. The main network currently serves just over 88.7 million customers.
Other national sports networks have lost customers lately, too. Fox Sports 1 lost nearly 1.5 million subscribers from February to August, Nielsen said, and the Golf Channel has lost nearly 1.4 million.
Other programming segments, like cable news, have been hit with subscriber attrition, too — CNN has lost more than 9.1 million subscribers since 2011, Nielsen added.
Notably, Dish Network announced plans Thursday to release a skinny bundle of around 50 channels, with major networks like the Big Four broadcasters and — yes — ESPN confined to $10-a-month add-on modules.
Dish’s “Flex Pack” is modeled similarly to Verizon’s Custom TV FiOS bundle, which has become the operator’s most popular video package among new subscribers since it was introduced in the spring of 2015.
Dish also introduced a new tier to its fast-growing Sling TV IP-based service that confines ESPN to an add-on pack. Notably, the Nielsen data do not include subscribers of Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue.
- read this Sports TV Ratings story
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