First it was the local newspapers. Then the big newspapers started going belly up. Now the mighty cable giants are in trouble.
The information gatekeepers are losing their grip. The taste makers, the talking heads, the producers and the TV programmers (at least the ones attached to traditional broadcasters) all see that their positions and status aren’t what the used to be. People are “cutting the cord.” The great unwashed increasingly is turning its back on media created in LA and New York. The nodes of American culture are shifting fundamentally and with this shift (concurrently not consequently) American politics is shifting. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite explaining the news to the peons. The peasants are increasingly hip to the bread and circuses. (ESPN is a network that specializes in circuses.) And technology is enabling this awakening.
ESPN and broadcast media are not dead of course. Millions and millions of people still ingest traditional media. I still do. (Though my family cut the cable cord a few years ago.) The #OLDMEDIA is still important. It still holds political power. But it is in decline and this election has sped this decline. Millions now see that the media has not only a pro-corporate pro-state bias, but a pro-corporate pro-state agenda. ESPN is caught in this downdraft.
Regardless this trend away from the “official” opinion makers and information peddlers has shifted into high gear and this will have profound effects on how this country works (or doesn’t) in the months and years ahead. (Personally I am in the “works” camp.)
Last April, HBO effectively marked the death of the cable TV bundle when they decided to launch “HBO Now” and sell their content directly to consumers for $15 per month. While other “over-the-top” providers have existed for years, this decision was pivotal because it was the first time that any major content provider decided to break with the traditional cable delivery model and go direct to consumer. Within a year, HBO Now had amassed 1 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Pay TV households collapsed around the same time as “cord cutting” accelerated.