Some people in the media watch ESPN’s subscriber numbers like a hawk and report them without real context. In 2021, the people that cheer whenever there is news about ESPN having fewer subscribers than it used to will tell you that the network is in 8 million fewer homes at the end of the last fiscal year than it was in at the end of fiscal 2020. There is some context that is missing though.
Linear cable isn’t an a la cart service. So, if ESPN is in 8 million fewer homes at the end of 2021, then that means FOX News, Bravo, Nickelodeon and every other cable network is in 8 million fewer homes too. Also missing is the fact that while linear ESPN is losing subscribers, plenty of people are signing up for ESPN+ subscriptions.
At the end of fiscal 2021, ESPN Plus had more than 17 million subscribers. That is significant growth over fiscal 2020. ESPN Plus had 10.3 million subscribers at the end of the prior year.
ESPN’s traditional cable network and its sister channels net around $10 per subscriber for Disney each month through packages on cable, satellite and digital TV. At $6.99 per month, ESPN Plus is not a perfect replacement, but that is a direct payment to the company.
Rumors of Disney looking to divest from ESPN have persisted. A drop in linear cable distribution will do nothing to end that speculation. We may be in for an extended session of number watching though. If cable subscriptions keep dropping off at such a high rate, it could motivate Disney to make a move.
Stephen A. Smith Shares COVID Ordeal: ‘I Didn’t Know If I Was Gonna Make It’
“Two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was gonna make it.”
Stephen A. Smith returned to ESPN’s First Take this week, a month after revealing that he tested positive for COVID-19.
Four weeks ago, Smith said that he was experiencing mild symptoms and running a fever. But his condition eventually became much worse than he revealed publicly.
“I had a 103-degree fever every night,” Smith explained on Monday’s show (via Mediaite’s Brandon Contes). “Woke up with chills and a pool of sweat.
“Headaches were massive. Coughing profusely. And it got to a point that right before New Year’s Eve, I was in the hospital New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day. That’s how I brought in the New Year.”
Smith continued, explaining how important the COVID-19 vaccine was to his eventual recovery from symptoms that became very bad.
“And [doctors] told me had I not been vaccinated, I wouldn’t be here,” said Smith. “That’s how bad I was.
“I had pneumonia in both lungs. My liver was bad. And it ravaged me to the point where even now I have to monitor my volume. Got to get in the gym every day, walk before you run, and work your way back because I’m still not 100 percent with my lungs. But I’m Covid negative and all of that stuff, and I’m on the road to recovery.”
Also helping in Smith’s recovery may have been the pain of Dallas Cowboys fans he enjoyed on Monday’s show.
Seriously, though — after thanking the doctors who treated him, Smith went on to urge people to at least wear masks in public if they’re still reluctant about getting vaccinated. (Back in September, Smith admitted he had reservations about the vaccine, despite encouraging people to get it.)
“I think the one thing to emphasize the importance of — no matter what your feelings are about the vaccine — that mask is important,” said Smith. “The reason why the mask is so important is because you don’t know how the next person is affected. How I’m affected is different from how you are affected.”
As an example, Smith mentioned his sister who recovered from COVID in three days despite being a smoker.
“I can’t tell you how lucky and sincerely blessed I am to be sitting here with you guys today,” Smith told co-hosts Molly Qerim and Michael Irvin. “Because two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was gonna make it.”
Rex Chapman Joining CNN+ To Host Weekly Show
The show will feature “intimate conversations with athletes, entertainers and everyday heroes as Chapman looks for the silver lining beyond today’s toughest headlines.”
Former NBA star and current Twitter sensation Rex Chapman is expanding his media footprint to CNN’s new streaming service.
On Tuesday, CNN+ announced that Chapman will host a weekly show. He joins a growing roster of talent that includes former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, NPR host Audie Cornish, and MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt, along with several CNN personalities like Anderson Cooper and Kate Bolduan.
In its official announcement, CNN described Chapman’s upcoming program as “intimate conversations with athletes, entertainers and everyday heroes as Chapman looks for the silver lining beyond today’s toughest headlines.”
Chapman has a compelling personal story to share, as well, one that could inform this new show. Various injuries sustained during his NBA career led to an opioid addiction that required several visits to drug rehab and an eventual arrest for shoplifting.
Yet he’s reinvented himself as a major Twitter presence with an account that has more than one million followers and regularly shares humorous videos, historical information, stories of people making a difference in culture and, of course, some basketball content.
Following a 12-year NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards (then the Bullets), Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns, Chapman got into broadcasting as an analyst for University of Kentucky basketball, NBA TV, and TNT.
More recently, Chapman has hosted a basketball podcast with actor Josh Hopkins and an interview podcast talking with athletes about their encounters with the law. He’s also hosted a show on Adult Swim titled Block or Charge, based on his popular series of tweets with video clips of various collisions, accidents, and mishaps.
According to CNN+, Chapman’s show will be part of the service’s catalog at launch. An exact premiere date for CNN+ hasn’t yet been announced, though plans are for the service to debut “in the first quarter of 2022.” So, sometime between now and April, presumably.
Dwayne Johnson Reveals His $30 Million T Rex Skull On Manningcast
“Due to the worldwide web, viewers were able to discover Stan the T-Rex was sold for over $30 million in 2020.”
One of the most recognizable and famous men on the planet joined Peyton and Eli on Monday Night Football’s “ManningCast” last night. Dwayne “The Rock Johnson” was a fantastic guest, especially considering the game itself was not particularly interesting. The Rams essentially dominated the game with the Cardinals not being able to get out of their own way at times.
However, some viewers were much more interested in the background of Johnson’s screen than they were with the game. It looked as though “The Rock” had his own rock, that was actually a large dinosaur skull.
In time Johnson was asked about it. He told the Manning brothers the skull was named Stan and it is the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever to be excavated by a paleontologist.
If anyone were to have a house ornament like this it makes sense that Johnson is the one to have it casually sitting behind him. Thanks to the worldwide web, viewers were able to discover Stan the T-Rex was sold for over $30 million in 2020. Per National Geographic:
“Now, an auctioneer’s hammer has thrown Stan’s future into question, with the dinosaur bones sold off to the highest—and, so far, anonymous—bidder, stoking fear among experts that this beloved T. rex may be lost to science.
On October 6, the London-based auction house Christie’s sold the T. rex for a record $31.8 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a fossil.”
It looks like all of that Fast and Furious money can get you some pretty cool stuff.
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