John Malone: ESPN Could Cost $20/Month If Offered Alone
A La Carte Dreams Could Prove Just as Costly
As noted last week
, there is a renewed pressure on broadcasters to either finally offer a la carte channels, or at least channel bundles that are a little more consumer friendly and economical. Leading (probably too strong a word) this charge is Verizon, who is already tinkering slightly with channel bundles that exclude sports programming
. Liberty Media chairman John Malone, who just nabbed a 27% stake in Charter
, estimates that customers could wind up paying as much as $20 a month for ESPN alone
if it's pulled from existing bundles:
"Maybe it [ESPN] is $20 for households that really want everything. Maybe it's $10 for households that want some [sports]. Maybe it's zero for ones that don't buy it at all," Malone told CNBC's David Faber on Friday.
Rising costs of sports programming will push more subscribers to over-the-top video providers, which will put pressure on sports networks and lead to pay TV distributors breaking up programming packages, Malone said. It will also create an opportunity for cable operators to focus on their high-speed data services and partner with over-the-top video providers.
"All of the sudden cable is distributing and promoting stuff that doesn't have a lot of sports on it. Maybe it's a bundle of Netflix with video or broadband," Malone said.
There has been some talk of Netflix offering some kind of bundle alongside traditional TV operators, but that hasn't taken off as most of the larger cable operators and ISPs (especially since Netflix's "use our CDN or be name-and-shamed" strategy launched
) see Netflix as the enemy.
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Fine by me. Buh-Bye ESPN. Never Watched you, won't miss you.
I'm ready to go...
Let the sports junkies buy their own crack.