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
Comcast Sees Big Growth in C3 VOD Viewing

While TV Everywhere tends to dominates the chatter about non-linear viewing, many cablers are actively marketing and delivering viewers for their existing VOD services. Comcast, for instance, logged its 30 billionth program viewed on demand in the last year and has seen 100% growth in time spent viewing in ...

image
Passion, Entertainment, Education Key To Brand Video: BPN’s Hiland

CHICAGO — What are the key ingredients to a making a video that works both as editorial and marketing? One big barbecue food maker mixed entertainment, education and a healthy dose of passion. IPG’s BPN chief strategy officer Chris Hiland tells Beet.TV in this recorded panel interview how his ...

image
Video Beats Display, Nearly As Good As TV: comScore’s Fulgoni

CHICAGO — Digital video is performing highly as an advertising medium, and nearly approaching the volume of TV in some quarters, says one of the leaders of venerable media metrics house comScore. “You need about three times as many display impressions to get to the same lift in impact which you ...

image
IAB’s Shah: Too Many Viewability Platforms Will Hurt Industry

Viewability, the recently-defined metric that defines whether an online ad slot is really viewable by consumers is a wholesale change for the industry – but its benefits may be blunted as too many platforms are vying to help advertisers capitalize, according to Ziff Davis CEO and IAB chair Vivek Shah. ...

image
Marketers Can Reach ‘Meerkats’ With Mobile: Weather Channel’s Dan Young

LONDON — Mobile video heralds a chance for advertisers to reach consumers who may appear to be distracted or in the outdoors – but who are actually highly engaged and watching TV, according to Weather Channel international yield and programmatic Daniel Young. “It’s personal,” Young ...

image
Ooyala Buying Videoplaza To Enhance Video Advertising Breadth

They are two of the best-known names in online video service provision – and now they are coming together as one. Video streaming service Ooyala, itself now owned by Australian telco Telstra, is acquiring its video advertising peer Videoplaza. The buying company says the deal “allows Ooyala to ...

image
Videology Opens TV Practice To Make Buying Smarter

Videology has established a strong profile for itself by helping TV ad buyers make intelligent decisions to buy online video ads. Now it wants to help them buy good old fashioned TV ads in the same way. The New York-based company is opening a dedicated TV practice. As CEO Scott Ferber tells The Wall Street ...

image
Interstitial Better Than Auto-Play: Jun CEO Mulls New Mobile Ads

CHICAGO – Ad network Jun Group’s CEO Mitchell Reichgut “recoils” when he hears about auto-playing ads, the new format being picked by Facebook and others to deliver video messages. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try introducing interruptive ads of his own. ...

image
Facebook is Redefining the Value of of Video Autoplay, Vivek Shah

Historically, videos which start automatically on Web pages and in mobile apps can be offensive to users, but the approach taken by Facebook by setting videos to autoplay without sound, is an important step forward for publishers and marketers, says Vivek Shah, chairman of the IAB and CEO of Ziff Davis, in ...

image
Mindshare’s Cridlin to Brands: Stop Seeking Fans on Facebook — “Organic Reach Is Non-Existent”

CHICAGO – Put your money where your mouth is. That’s the new mantra of digital ad execs who believe gaining free audiences by building viral social audiences is over. “There is an urban myth of organic reach, of something going viral,” Mindshare digital innovation and strategy MD Jim ...

image
AETNA Allocates Most Ad Spend to Digital; Big Piece is Programmatic Video

For the giant insurer AETNA, a majority of its advertising budget is spent on digital media and at least 10 percent of the total spend going to programmatic video, says Gary Templeton, head of media,  in this interview with Beet.TV With advent of the Affordable Health Care Act, AETNA has been focused  on ...

image
Brand Pair-Ups with Publishers Can Drive Key Metrics, Maxus’ Bahler

CHICAGO — Working with a publisher partner can be a smart strategy for branded content, especially to drive awareness and visibility, says Spencer Bahler, Managing Director-Chicago at Maxus in an interview with Beet.TV. “We have some challenger brands we represent and we look to partnerships to ...

loader