A new study reveals what networks cord cutters would choose most when given an “a la carte” option, and it’s not good news for sports. There’s presently no way to “purchase” individual networks, but this study gives us a good look at how things would shake down if customers could, and gives insight as to what channels consumers value most.
The study from Digitalsmiths (who you may know is owned by Tivo) asked people to build their “perfect” lineup if 18 networks. ABC was the most popular choice, with 66% of people saying they’d want it in their lineup. The next highest was CBS at 64%, followed by Discovery at 62%. NBC came in fourth place, with History Channel surprisingly high at fifth. Fox, A&E, PBS, TNT and FX rounded out the top 10.
Noticeably absent though is a certain major sports network. The only sports network in the top 20 was ESPN at 19th, with 41.3% of people saying they’d choose to purchase it. Fox Sports 1 was the next sports network in line at 33rd place, with NFL Network right behind them at 36th, and NBCSN at 38th. MLB Network came in at 56th place, the Golf Channel at 66th, Sportsman Channel at 68th and the Tennis Channel which at 77th.
Surprising though, is the price tag. The most people said they’d be willing to spend on this fictional dream package is just over $28. That’s down 12 from the previous quarter, and is right in line with that most basic packages from DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV cost.
Now, this survey doesn’t mean sports networks are doomed. It’s entirely possible this survey happened to find people who aren’t sports fans. It is interesting to note though, that a lot of people apparently don’t place a priority on cable TV sports these days. And that shows in the fact that ESPN’s subscriber numbers have been falling hard. Of course, that could also just be a side effect of streaming live sports being easier than ever before.