ESPN’s Rollins: Dish Streaming Won’t Hurt Cable #TCA15

Cable Execs Defend OTT Efforts in TVE Discussion

ESPN’s inclusion in Dish’s Sling TV is not a threat to the cable bundle model, executives from several cable networks, ESPN included, said Wednesday during a panel focusing on TV Everywhere at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

“We’re very excited to kind of see our innovative efforts come to fruition with Dish to provide a value service to an underserved market, these broadband customers that don’t have a multichannel video subscription, which is roughly about 12 million broadband homes,” said James Rollins, vice president of digital video distribution, affiliate sales and marketing at Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “So really we see this as being kind of supplemental. It’s going to be additive in a way to serve a market that has been underserved, to be that bridge into higher terms of service."

Dish announced the details of its new over-the-top streaming product Monday. Among the channels featured in the $20-a-month package is ESPN, the most expensive cable network for MVPDs to carry.

“No, we still firmly see the value of traditional multichannel video service,” Rollins said when asked whether viewers who are paying for cable in order to have ESPN might defect to Dish’s lower-cost offering. He pointed out that Dish’s package is itself a bundle of multiple networks.

Under its new media rights deal, ESPN is expected to work with the National Basketball Association on their own OTT service, streamed to mobile devices.

Read more at B&C here.