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November 01, 2016

NFL Slump Continues, Bud Light Fires Fat Liberal Pitchmen, ESPN Loses Record Number of Subscribers: Is a Wave Building?

Michael Walsh looks at some data points.

Rush was also reading tea leaves yesterday, looking at some of this same stuff, as well as the story from three days ago about ESPN losing a record 621,000 subscribers in a single month.

By the way, that's now being disputed by ESPN. Nielsen is now looking at the numbers again, after Disney shouted that those numbers couldn't be right.

Disney, and some other content providers, complained what low-rated channels and show staffs always complain about -- that Nielsen wasn't properly counting the full universe of viewers, like new viewers coming in through Playstation's Vue service.

This Fortune piece says that ESPN might be right about the exact number being wrong, but the downward trend, they find, is "crystal clear."

So where does the truth lie in this particular situation? Likely somewhere in the middle.

ESPN is right that Nielsen has a poor track record for measuring the entire universe of video viewing, including time-shifting, mobile video audiences, and streaming services. The analytics firm has been trying for some time to fill those gaps, but it is not there yet, so it's not a stretch to think that it might have missed some viewers/subscribers.

At the same time, however, ESPN has been seeing a steady decline in subscriber numbers. And the threat that this poses to the Disney subsidiary's business model is very real, which is why it is probably hypersensitive about it.

I know I've annoyed some of you with my Pleasure Shaming on this score but it's not intended to be Pleasure Shaming. I'm just trying to remind everyone that the only reason the kings sit comfortably in their tall castles is because their serfs are dutifully doing their jobs on the kings' behalves (in this case, watching their TV shows).

All it takes to bring those castles down is for the serfs to pack it up and leave the fields to rot.

We do have the power to cause serious disruptions and force serious change. We always have had it.

But they've convinced us that there's nothing we can do but shout about it and accept it and so we've largely done just that.

But that was a lie. The kings say that revolution isn't possible to discourage it.

But it's always possible, as most kings would tell you, if their thrones still existed, which they of course do not.


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posted by Ace at 06:10 PM

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