It’s coincidence that these stories came out at the same time but they are irrevocably connected.
Story #1: Cordcutting is taking off and cable companies don't much care
Story #2: Disney announced a bundle for its streaming services including Disney+, Hulu and....ESPN+.
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the short-term evolution of streaming media. As the cable companies fade, Disney can do its own bundle, sans the middle man, and deliver their assets, a la carte if they’re wise, to whoever wants to buy what.
And in a business master stroke, they are offering their new bundle at exactly the same price as Netflix is charging, while simultaneously starving Netflix of content and forcing them to spend more on original productions and, inevitably, to raise prices.
So you could slice and dice it and take Disney + ESPN, or Disney+ESPN, the ACC Network, the Big Ten Network, the SEC Network, A&E, however they brand Fox and however they decide to package their various franchises, including nearly 100 years of Disney, Star Wars and Marvel. And, of course, Pixar.
They would be smart to allow flexibility to draw people away from cable bundles but otherwise Disney is in position, at least as the market appears today, to cripple their main rival and to lay out a viable future for a post-cable sports world.
So there you have it. While it’s entirely plausible to say that sports products will have to find a different level in a post-cable world and may not be as lucrative, it’s also obvious that most of it is going to be running through Disney via ESPN and streaming to a screen near you.
Toss in 5G and the world is about to change very, very quickly.