ESPN to Charge for Online Content, BusinessWeek Reports

By on 06/05/2009 10:38 AM @beet_tv

ESPN is planning on merging its magazine and other online offerings, including Web videos from the the cable network, into a paid subscription site in August, Jon Fine reports in BusinessWeek

There has been much talk about the viability of pay models for media, clearly the folks at ESPN are betting that sports fans will pay.

Last week in California at D: All Things Digital, I caught up with Jon for a talk about the profound changes in the media landscape.  He says that the turmoil in the media industry has made it a very exciting beat to cover.  We agree.

More in this up on Romenesko and on Mediabistro.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer.

Video Transcript

Joe Fine:  Right now no one's invented the solution yet.  It doesn't mean that, you know, at this conference we're going to hear from someone who's just like "bang" got it, or at least is gonna say something. Hasn't happened yet. The issues with inventory, like essentially infinite online inventory is finally depressing prices all over the place. And more to the point, advertisers have slowed down spending.  I mean they've slowed down spending everywhere, including online.  Online, you know figures are coming out from analysts like Sanford Bernstein that are showing that online ad spending was down in the first couple months of the year.

Online, is there good news?  I mean, they haven't invented it yet. A dynamic that I find interesting is that, I mean this is a minority view, but I'm I'm pretty convinced, I think, that at the end of the day, the television will come out with a greater share of the ad market than it did, which is to say that everything else is going to contract a lot faster.  It's not to say everything is, you know, hearts and flowers for TV.  I mean, clearly, broadcast TV has been problematic.  Clearly local TV stations are just at a terrible time. It's like the local car dealers have gotten killed, they just got totally wiped out. But the overall numbers I think for the entire industry aren't going to be that awful and it remains the last, I mean, I've written about his a bunch of times now, but you know. The big broadcast networks from in the last place to get one really huge audience at one time and granted now it's eight million instead of ten million instead of fifteen million. But there's still a perceived premium in getting all those people at once and no one has really equalled that. And maybe no one really can equal that. 

You get on top of that weird other sort of institutional issues, like I think, this is still American, there's still some kind of you know value, whether it's ego or vanity, that people associate either with being on television or getting their product on television. And, you know, that kind of can't be understated quite that way.  Although, I guess, I don't know if, you know, reading something in the paper, having something appear in the paper means as much to a twenty year old as it does to a fifty year old, you know if like something gets mentioned in the paper if it has the same significance. But it seems to be hanging on for TV little longer. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We're actually at a kind of, you know… The transition is really accelerated, I mean stuff is really happening right now. People said the newspaper's classified, you know, ads were gonna go away. They've been saying that since like the late eighties, and, guess what, it finally happened. Certain other business models, I mean local radio I mean those things seem to be melting kind of irretrievably. And, you know, once again, all the behaviors are pointing to the web, the advertisers aren't quite there yet I think there's some complicated reasons as to why they're not there yet. I don't know if they ever will get there.  Let me rephrase that, I know that the ad dollars won't get there in the same way.  At least not the way the world is set up right now.

But I mean there's constant reinvention I mean like — all these companies that shed people shed executives and shed units, I mean those people go out and do something new. Usually in some tangent to the space because that's what they know. And and it's just it's endlessly fascinating. I mean you hear heart rending stories you get heart rending emails, I mean you hear angry people, you hear sad people,  you hear people that are just plain freaked out. But I mean stuff is really happening; if you're a journalist, you want to be on a story where there's action, there's plenty of action going on.

Recent Videos
image
Technology Informs Cannes’ ‘Creative Nexus': UM’s Cohen

Do technology and creativity mix? They do if you are attending this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “Cannes has evolved over the last couple of years to be this nexus of creativity,” Universal McCann chief investment officer David Cohen tells Beet.TV in this video ...

image
Mobile Video Advertising is Priced at 50% Discount, MMA’s Stuart

Mobile video advertising is pricing at half of what it should be says Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, in this interview with Beet.TV.  He cites data from a just completed two year, $2 million research study undertaken by the MMA with several big brands.   Unlike other forms of ...

image
Mixpo’s Tillinghast Sees Big Upside to Interactive Video as Display Banners

Mixpo, the Seattle-based company that creates custom, interactive elements for pre-roll ads for big brands and publishers, sees much bigger opportunities for interactivity in video ads that appear as banners, says Charlie Tillinghast, former President & CEO of MSNBC.com, who became CEO of Mixpo earlier ...

image
comScore Readies Measurement Tool for Connected TV’s

Responding to a dramatic increase in video consumption on connected TV’s, comScore is readying a measurement tool to tabulate views on the devices and will roll it out this year in the U.S., says Serge Matta, CEO in this video interview with Beet.TV.   He says that comScore is already measuring OTT ...

image
Tim Armstrong’s Goal of “Open” AdTech Dominance: “Open is the New Black,”...

In a  keynote address to some 500 leaders of the adtech industry gathered in New York by the investment bank boutique LUMA partners, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong shared an expansive  view on the sale of AOL to Verizon and the future of AOL.   He spoke about the future of an open, interoperarable tech stack ...

Jon Steinberg, DailyMail
DailyMail’s Steinberg: The Threat to News is the Media Agencies

It’s not porn, it’s not file sharing, yet many media agencies equate news with these unsavory categories – and they are keeping their distance and limiting ad spend. The threat to news is not the lack of journalists, it’s the way news is seen by advertisers, primarily by the ...

image
David Bell: “There Will be Roadkill in the Lumascape”

At the upcoming Cannes Lions Festival in France next month, a vast numbers adtech companies will be vying for attention but there will be an inevitable winnowing.   Consolidation will continues with the growth of larger, open platform technology companies.  “There will be roadkill in the ...

image
Being a Change Agent = Reading Trends, Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan Says

The ad market should brace itself for huge digital transformations in the next few years. Changes that have been afoot for sometime now are on the cusp of hitting the market hard, says serial entrepreneur Dave Morgan, Chief Executive Officer for Simulmedia, who talked about these shifts in the ad ...

image
China’s Search Giant Baidu in Strategic Alliance with Taboola

Baidu, China’s largest search engine, has entered into a strategic investment with content recommendation company Taboola, the companies announced today.   Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The deal gives Taboola a giant foothold in the Chinese market which does not widely use content ...

image
Video Ad Trust Is A Mess: Coull CEO Watkins

Through initiatives like the Media Ratings Council defining what truly constitutes a “viewable” ad, the industry has come a long way to eradicating fraudulent practices. But the spectrum of viewable ad-measuring platforms spawned by the search for accuracy means video ad sales are still in a ...

image
Xaxis Deal ‘Critical’ To AppNexus’ Future: CEO O’Kelley

Last year’s deal in which WPP’s Xaxis programmatic unit divested its ad-serving technology to ad tech outfit AppNexus was forged in the snowy hills of the Swiss Alps. “For five years, we had a good relationship,” AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley tells Beet.TV in this video interview. ...

image
Nielsen, eXelate Will ‘Co-Build Products From Day One': Zagorski

Media measurement firm Nielsen and programmatic ad tech outfit eXelate had already worked together for five years before the former’s acquisition of the latter this March. Now they are working on the same journey. “We act as their data management backbone, taking a lot of their offline data and ...

loader