From a report: ESPN has lost more than 12 million subscribers since 2011, according to Nielsen, and the viewership erosion seems to be accelerating. Last fall, ESPN lost 621,000 subscribers in a single month, the most in the company’s history. In some respects, the challenges facing ESPN are the same that confront every other media company: Young people simply aren’t consuming cable TV, newspapers, or magazines in the numbers they once did, and digital outlets still aren’t lucrative enough to make up the deficit. But while most of ESPN’s TV peers have courted cord cutters — CBS and Turner Broadcasting, for instance, are allowing anyone to watch some of their March Madness games online for free — ESPN’s view cuts against the conventional wisdom in new media. Essentially, ESPN was hoping that sports will remain unaffected by the growing trend of “cord-cutting.” The article adds: If a combination of hockey, low-wattage college sports, and cricket doesn’t quite seem worthy of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, that’s by design: ESPN doesn’t want its new product to draw viewers away from its very profitable cable channel. And, as John Kosner, the network’s head of digital and print media notes, when ESPN began broadcasting in 1979, plenty of people doubted whether anyone would want to watch bowling at two in the morning. “I was in college when ESPN started,” he says. “I felt sorry for the people working there.”
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