July 10th, 2015 at 8:53 AM ^

Hopefully this leads to them providing some sort of option for non-cable subscribers to have all their channels. If that happened I would cut cable tomorrow.


July 10th, 2015 at 8:59 AM ^

They have SEC network which I'm sure exists for the same reason. If the first football season goes well for them in guessing we'll see more sports nets signing up.


July 10th, 2015 at 10:52 AM ^

Best part about cable is the DVR.  If you use Sling, how do you record so you can watch on your schedule and skip commercials? 

From what I understand even using a TiVo box requires some sort of subscription fee and I don't have a computer near my TV so I can't use that.

I Like Burgers

July 10th, 2015 at 9:48 AM ^

Sling has ESPN for now, but according to a WSJ article, when Disney negotiated that deal, they put in a clause that allowed them to opt out if they lost 3M subscribers, which they have now done.  But opting out has its own problems, so it remains to be seen if they will stick with Sling or not.


July 10th, 2015 at 9:29 AM ^

They won't be able to do that. There are clauses in their telecom contracts that say if ESPN begins offering a standalone service, the telecoms reserve the right to split off ESPN from their cable channel packages and begin offering them a la carte.  That's a death sentence that Disney would never allow.


July 10th, 2015 at 8:55 AM ^

The network has done more to provide entertainment and coverage to sports than any other media source has. In addition,they helped to generate the revenues that allow for bigger and better stadiums, more competitive balance amongst smaller programs (ATM, Baylor, Bouse State, etc) that would not have gotten such publicity otherwise. All in all, they have enhanced my enjoyment of sports across the spectrum. That have some really horrible hosts and analysts just as every other channel does, but all in all, that do a pretty good job. Someone explain to me the resentment for ESPN. PLEASE!


July 10th, 2015 at 9:16 AM ^

with ESPN than other channels in the what is normally a base package (e.g. USA, CNN). Weather channel seems odd to be leading this group. Assume it is from the extra ESPNs that people may have subscribed to in an expanded package that they are no longer getting once they move back to a base package or quit altogether?

The article seems to associate subscriber with household which seems to imply a teen consuming sport online should not affect the number if mom/dad still have ESPN on basic cable, one subscriber counts for one or all ESPN channels, and/or the house cutting the cord would drop all cable (which should affect the full bundle of channels). Are people really buying USA separately? I would to understand the variance here.

S FL Wolverine

July 10th, 2015 at 10:29 AM ^

TWC is such garbage now.  Try finding *acutal* weather content on that channel, I dare you.  This was at issue during negotations with DirecTV last year when for a short period of time DirecTV dropped TWC after they made unreasonable demands for a "raise".  TWC started this absolutely ridiculous PR camplaign saying that DirecTV didn't care about the health and welfare of its subcribers since TWC is the "go to" source of info during severe weather.  The campaign went nowhere and TWC not only did not get a raise, in order to get back on the air it had to make concessions to reduce the amount of ridiculous non-weather-related programming on its channel.

From my perspective, not much has changed, however,  There's hardly any weather content on during prime time when you might want to check on tomorrow's weather.  Instead, they have serious "weather" programs like:

- American Super Natural (yes, this is ghosts and stuff)

- Fat Guys in the Woods

- Why Planes Crash

- Highway through Hell

When I lived in FL I used to love TWC because of the tropial (hurricanes) content.  It used to be a professional source of weather and commentary, much deeper than looking at an app.  No more.

S FL Wolverine

July 10th, 2015 at 1:16 PM ^

They basically don't have music videos on anymore.  Same with VH-1.  Look, I understand ratings are king and all so these networks are gonna show anything that gets ratings.  But it's really disappointing to me that our culture has gone to a place where these sensational reality programs are so popular.  I used to *love* the History channel.  Now anything on there is so "flashy" I'll call it with constant jerky cameras, over-the-top special effects, and just general movement everywhere.  I guess this is what the ADD generation needs. Of course I feel the same way about movies.  Movies used to be about plot and developing characters but now any "action" movie is just non-stop action with no pretense of anything deeper.  Take a look at some of the great action movies of the past - Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Terminator, Matrix, Die Hard - and they all had strong character development and a compelling plot.  Now you have action movies that are basically one long car chase.  Sure, there used to be car chases, but they were one scene in the movie surrounded by stuff more meaningful.  Now get off my lawn.

Vengeful Barbarian

July 10th, 2015 at 8:58 AM ^

you can't just keep raising cable rates without people eventually dropping cable. We all brag about how much money Michigan is getting from tv contracts, but this is why cable rates are getting more expensive, and why people are getting rid of cable and finding alternate forms of entertainment.

I Like Burgers

July 10th, 2015 at 9:57 AM ^

It'll be interesting to see what happens.  There's been lots of talk about a looming pop for the sports rights bubble and we might be near that.  ESPN is tightening their belt and Fox just cut a bunch of jobs as well.  Those two networks rely on rights fees more than anyone else (they broadcast the most), and they use subscriber fees to offset that.  With subscriber bases shrinking, its a whole lot harder to shell out billions for rights.  

It'll be interesting to see what happens when the next round of contracts comes up.  Eventually something has to give, someone is going to have to pay for it, and it'll likely be the consumer.  Cord cutting is a sexy alternative now because its the alternative and networks still have their business attached to subscriber fees.  Its cheap because its new, and networks haven't quite figured out what to do with it.  Once the subscriber model breaks, they are going to have to shift and start charging a lot more for the a la carte/cord cutter option.

The demand for live sports isn't going to go away.  There will just be a shift in how we the consumer pay for that demand.

Yostbound and Down

July 10th, 2015 at 9:03 AM ^

Same thing for me. I still pay comcast for local channels along with internet here in A2 because my antenna won't reach Detroit TV stations, and because I can get CBC (Hockey Night, although it's not as good now that Sportsnet is doing it). If a game I want to see isn't on there, I either stream (mostly Wings games) or go to the bar... or just don't watch.

swan flu

July 10th, 2015 at 9:19 AM ^

So you're still effectively paying $80 a month for cable.

I went with the alternate route: free streaming. Sure it takes a few minutes to find a decent stream, but free is free.


July 10th, 2015 at 9:46 AM ^

my girlfriend and I pay $50/month for 25mbit down/5mbit up Comcast internet, and $40/month for the TV service via the Slingbox.

So $90 total. I never have to chase down a low bitrate stream, I watch things in 720p @ 60fps, it's legal, and half the price ($180) of the comparable package for other services.

The Geek

July 10th, 2015 at 11:01 AM ^

cut the cord two years ago and haven't missed ESPN for one minute. Our bill was >$200 / month.

Free OTA HD signals (including 5 separate PBS channels); netflix and hulu plus. I also pay for the MLB package, but a lot of those games are blacked out (Chicagoland), so I'll stream. I use DSL, which is still expensive, but it's been very reliable and fast. 

For me, streaming is the only way I can see all of Michigan's football games without shelling out hundreds of dollars. 

I don't consider it stealing; you still have to watch all of the commercials. I really don't mind sticking it to ESPN for whoring 90% of D1 football games.

Steve in PA

July 10th, 2015 at 1:24 PM ^

I haven't missed anything as of yet and I'm learning how to navigate it before football season.  My only expense is internet but I may pay for one of the legal plugins that has 28 channels/mo in 720p and doesn't have the limitations that are one slingbox (one viewer per account).

Two Hearted Ale

July 10th, 2015 at 11:55 AM ^

I'm guessing Disney isn't too concerned about the "sponging off parents" demographic.

My sophomore year in college the cable company didn't disconnect the previous tennent's cable and never sent us a bill so we got free cable. I paid for cable my junior year and didn't have it again until I bought a house nearly ten years later. I too was once part of the "sponging" demo but grew out of it because a) it's much easier to pay one cable (or satellite in my case bill) than it is to try to figure out how to watch the game for free and b) the cable bill is a much smaller percentage of my total income than it used to be.

I have one friend who has cut the cord but he isn't interested in sports and is the kind of guy who can and did build a media network for fun. For what he has in his media network I could pay for satellite for three years.

Blue Mike

July 10th, 2015 at 9:03 AM ^

Actually, they attribute much of it to Sling TV and WatchESPN.  Apparently there is a clause in their Sling contract if they lose over 3 millions customers, they can terminate the contract.  There is also talk that they are in a tough spot as other networks start their own streaming service, because if they do so, cable/satellite companies have clauses in their contracts that allow them to move ESPN off the basic tiers and offer them a la carte, which ESPN really doesn't want.

Interesting times ahead; ESPN is probably one of very few broadcast companies that can shift the landscape of TV providers/streaming offerings.

Go Blue 1984

July 10th, 2015 at 9:04 AM ^

SE Michigan my cable provider was buckeye cable system, for one the name sucks and for 2 they are a straight ripoff and you get shit channels. I got a 2 year deal with Directv, which I get more channels and my overall savings those 2 years is about $1,200. That being said there are still way too many channels that are shit and it's ridiculous that we can't get a la carte. I would literally probably pay for 5-7 channels. That chart is very interesting and not surprising. The Weather Channel is pointless where you can use the Internet. CNN losing customers not a shock, they have become an agenda driven joke like all other TV news sources.


July 10th, 2015 at 9:29 AM ^

Right now, other than free streams, DirectTV is the way to go...especially in SE Michigan and NW Ohio where Buckeye Cable is a nightmare. 

As for the Weather Channel, they began going downhill when NBC bought them and turned them into a similar circus as The Today Show. I bet their ratings would go back up if they went back to their old format of just reporting the weather instead of acting like clowns. Although some of their series, like Tornado Alley is pretty decent. 


His Dudeness

July 10th, 2015 at 9:04 AM ^

I cut cable about a year ago. Although I do miss it during college football season (I go to pretty much every UM home game), I dont really miss it.

I read, watch NetFlix and play video games in my down time. Saving a bundle.


July 10th, 2015 at 9:05 AM ^

and I liked it alot. I am dropping it because we are moving in with inlaws (new job) but I was happy with it. When I get a new house, I will pop in my chromecast and use Netflix and sling for 30 bucks a month and be happy. 

Yostbound and Down

July 10th, 2015 at 10:02 AM ^

I will say make sure you get an antenna that's reliable. As a renter in Ann Arbor I can't roof mount one in my building so I wound up buying a Leaf antenna... and it works very poorly, even with a preamp, but that's because I'm 40 miles or so away from the transmitters in Detroit/the suburbs. My friend has the same model in Wrigleyville and it works great except when the L passes by.

I Like Burgers

July 10th, 2015 at 10:02 AM ^

Big Ten fees are the next big rights contract to be negotiated.  And with the top two contenders cutting a lot of costs in the last few months, it'll be interesting to see what happens.  Whoever wins the Big Ten rights is likely going to have to make quiet a few concessions elsewhere in their business to afford it.