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ESPN loses 2 million subscribers in fiscal 2018


ESPN lost 2 million subscribers in the past 12 months, according to an annual earning report released by Disney, the sports network's parent company.

The report underscores the impact that increased cord-cutting is having on traditional cable, with streaming options and the fractional comparative costs creating big challenges for networks like ESPN. Subscriptions account for more than 60 percent of ESPN's revenue.

Overall, ESPN is responsible for almost 30 percent of Disney’s value, according to a 2017 Forbes report. Overall, according to the financial magazine, ESPN has lost nearly 12 million subscribers since the end of 2013, dropping from approximately 98 million to 86 million. 

Disney's earnings report also showed that ESPN was able to gain with ESPN+, which features live and archived streams of action from regional networks from across the country. Overall, in the past five months alone, ESPN+ has added 1 million subscriptions, helping somewhat offset the past year's loss of cable subscribers.

On the cable news front, audiences continue to skew older. The median age of a CNN viewer was 61 in 2017, according to Nielsen data, making its average viewership the youngest of the big three cable news offerings. MSNBC's media age was 63 and Fox News Channel's was 66.

As a result, all three cable news networks are now devoting considerable resources and energy toward streaming offerings and digital subscription content.

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