Even as ESPN doubles down with more politics than sports, the TV industry continues to hemorrhage viewers
Over the past few days one of the biggest scandals hitting ESPN once again is from one of their¬†African-American announcers calling President Trump a white nationalist¬†because of his failure to cow-tow to the politically correct Black Lives Matter agenda. ¬†And this scandal is simply a microcosm of the network’s move over the past few years to spend more time talking about politics and social justice topics than sticking to their primary mission of producing sporting events.
Needless to say the public as a whole has taken serious note of this and in the past decade has cut the cord from ESPN to the tune of over 7 million viewers.
However ESPN should not be singled out in the losing of subscribers as the entire industry is hemorrhaging viewership. ¬†And in a new survey by eMarketer on Sept. 13 the industry is expected to lose another 10% of subscribers by the year 2021.
In fact, by 2021, the number of cord-cutters will nearly equal the number of people who have never had pay TV (‚Äúcord-nevers‚ÄĚ).
This year, there will be 22.2 million cord-cutters ages 18 and older, a figure up 33.2% over 2016. The overall tally is much higher than the 15.4 million eMarketer previously predicted. Meanwhile, the number of US adult cord-nevers will grow 5.8% this year to 34.4 million. –¬†Stock Board Asset
Television viewership, both on the network side and the cable side, has seen a decline in viewership over the past few years due to a number of factors such as streaming video options, lack of a la carte choices, and the rise in overall costs for owning cable television. ¬†However for many of the major networks such as CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and even Fox News, their push into propaganda programming is what is receiving the most public backlash, especially following the stunning victory last November by Donald Trump.
Americans are waking up to the fact that television is no longer the only choice of entertainment available, ¬†and they are financially scrutinizing the choice on whether to keep their cable television when there are plenty of cheaper and even free choices out there to get the same ‘fix’ they once did through cable and broadcasting. ¬†And both the networks and cable companies will soon have to make their own choices on whether they can continue losing viewers by forcing programming on consumers that they no longer want to watch, or cede to the reality that world is changing and their competition has a new business model they currently can’t compete with.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr¬†is¬†a writer for¬†The Daily Economist,¬†Secretsofthefed.com,¬†Roguemoney.net, and¬†Viral Liberty, and hosts¬†the popular¬†youtube podcast¬†on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.¬†Ken can also¬†be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the¬†Angel Clark radio show.