ESPN punts mobile service

Net shutters endeavor due to few subs

ESPN will shut down its fledgling mobile service after a year of heavy promotions and light subscriptions.

Cabler was thought to be incurring losses on the program that sought to translate net’s signature content to wireless world.

Instead net will concentrate exclusively on licensing content to other carriers in the manner of most broadcast and cable nets.

ESPN has been strongly touting its mobile service through a series of commercials as well as select in-program promos.

But in recent earnings calls, Disney execs acknowledged that adoption had been slow, and some analysts were pushing for the company to shut it down. While announcement wasn’t a complete surprise, some experts had felt company would make one more holiday push.

Company released a statement that focused on licensing, saying that, “With a redefined approach we have a greater opportunity to reach millions of fans while achieving our strategic and financial goals” and took the sunny-eyed view that with more providers now offering content, it had licensing opportunities it didn’t have a year ago.

Sports cabler had gambled that sportsnets and its personalities were sufficiently well-known, and customer base sufficiently dedicated, that it could convince customers to drop their wireless providers and sign up for ESPN’s service.

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