An excellent counter argument to the ESPN is dead theme w/ quartlery profit estimates @ various subscriber levels and monthly pricing ($7.21 + 25% price increase):
1) 80m subs — $1.4b — $2.0b
2) 70m subs — $800m — $1.5b
3) 60m subs — $500m — $1.1b
4) 50 subs — $200m — $750m
The following 2 things can be true at the same time:
1) ESPN is a magical business and one of the greatest (legal) cash machines in existence.
2) The cash machine has driven up monthly cable bills to the point where consumers are exploring alternatives.
Smart idea. ESPN keeps current subscriber model (in the short term), but launches direct to consumer product focused on super fans and specific sports/teams.