Insiders claim that NBC will shut down its main NBCSN sports channel by 2022 and focus on USA Network and Peacock platform instead.
NBC To Shut Down NBCSN in 2022
Recent reports claim that NBC Universal may be planning on shutting down its main sports channel NBCSN. According to insiders, the company’s affiliate agreements with Charter Communications and Dish Network will not be extended beyond this year. Furthermore, affected sports leagues will be informed of these changes this week, sources claim.
NBC, which currently broadcasts to a total of 79.9 million subscribers, hosts a number of high-profile sports, including the NHL, NASCAR, IndyCar and the English Premier League. Most of the network’s live sports events will be carried over to USA Network. Sports with a more niche appeal, such as car shows and dog shows, will either move to NBC’s Peacock streaming service or be forced to migrate to a different network entirely.
While this shift will certainly impact every sport hosted on NBCSN, the most interesting development will revolve around the NHL. NBCSN has carried the League’s games for over 15 years at this point. NBC has clarified that NHL broadcasts will be split under two TV outlets – the company’s regular broadcasting channel and USA Network.
NBC’s other sports channels, Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel, will not be affected by these changes, insiders claim. Recent decisions made around both of these channels seem to reflect this.
The Golf Channel recently relocated its operations to Stamford, Connecticut – NBC Sports’ headquarters. Last week, NBC announced that Peacock will now include premium tier speed skating. This kind of content would traditionally be carried by both NBCSN and Olympic Channel.
NBC’s Decision Is A Sign of Television’s Drop in Popularity
NBC’s decision to radically consolidate its assets is a sign of the times. It is no secret that television is no longer the undisputed titan of media consumption – both as a platform and as a medium. With the rise of the Internet, television has simply struggled to compete with newer platforms, for a variety of reasons such as flexibility and cost.
Traditional broadcasts are still profitable, but the decline is difficult to ignore. According to a recent survey by Sportico and Harris Poll, streaming platforms have cut out a decent chunk of the market for themselves over the years. Given this development, it seems inevitable that newer forms of media consumption will overtake television in the coming years.
Television’s drop in popularity is of course accompanied by a drop in subscriptions. A recent Leichtman Research Group survey revealed that around 2.9 million US households cancelled their paid subscriptions in 2019, and an additional 3.8 million in the first half of 2020.
Currently, around 61% of all Americans still subscribe to cable television, but 16% plan on cancelling in the future. This means that only 45% of consumers have and plan on retaining traditional cable television.