Rousey-Holm Match Sets PPV Records

Pay-per-view is one of the few areas where cable TV and satellite TV still have control over how much money they make in the DVR and cord-cutting area, because those live rights are still valuable and people will pay good money to watch a fight on PPV, be it a big boxing match such as the disappointing Mayweather-Pacquiao fight or the extremely NOT disappointing upset of undefeated women’s bantamweight UFC champion Ronda Rousey at the hands of Holly Holm. Turns out this fight not only stunned in the octagon, but also in the ratings, as it has set a record for a women’s MMA PPV fight with more than 1 million buys.

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Industry estimates have the Rousey vs. Holm bantamweight title change doing between 1 million and 1.1 million buys, with most estimates closer to the higher figure. It is expected to be among the four biggest UFC pay-per-view events in its history. Before Rousey, no combat sports pay-per-view event headlined by a woman had ever topped 125,000 buys.

The show drew a UFC record of 56,214 fans to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, breaking the company’s attendance record set at UFC 129 of 55,724 set by the Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields fight at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

In addition to this fight, its potential rematch will likely sell well, with many predicting it will set the record even higher. It’s tentatively set for this summer—get those buying buttons ready.

NFL Sunday Ticket – Week 16 Schedule, Only on DIRECTV

At 14-0, the Carolina Panthers are inching toward the first perfect regular season record in the NFL since the New England Patriots in 2007, when they were perfect all the way up to the Super Bowl, where they were upset by the New York Giants in possibly the best Super Bowl ever. With many playoff spots clinched, some teams are jockeying for postseason position while others are still trying to sneak in, and many more are at the bottom, playing for pride and draft position.

With only a couple of weeks left, football season is nearing its end. Be sure to get your holiday weekend games in with NFL Sunday Ticket, only available from DIRECTV. Here are the games, times, and listings for Sunday’s games:

  • 1pm EST:
    • Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons – 705
    • Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills – 706
    • San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions – 707
    • New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings – 708
    • Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 709
    • Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs – 710
    • Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins – 711
    • Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints – 712
    • New England Patriots at New York Jets – 713
    • Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans – 714
  • 4:25pm EST
    • Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – 715
    • Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks – 716

As always, enjoy the games, and if you’re looking to catch every game, every Sunday, contact Mid-America Satellite.

Online Sports Highlights Killing ESPN

Perhaps the most successful cable TV network in history, ESPN has built an empire on its packaging of the day’s sports highlights, events, and talking points into a digestible hour that can keep even the most casual sports fan up to date on what’s going on in the world of sports in America (though not hockey so much). SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program (which at this point is airing almost all the time either on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNnews), basically created the highlight mentality by which viewers consume sports news, but now that is starting to backfire, as the internet brings those same highlights to potential viewers in a faster and more personalized way than even 24 hours a day of SportsCenter can. The result? ESPN’s ratings are down 10 percent to last year.

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Disney itself cast a light on the troubles at ESPN in August when the company cut its profit outlook, citing a drop in the homes that get the sports network. The announcement renewed investor concerns that consumers are dropping or cutting back on pay-TV services and sent media stocks tumbling.

ESPN’s ratings are another sign of the changes rattling the TV industry.

Live editions of “SportsCenter” are down 10 percent this year in total viewers, according to ESPN, while the Sunday pregame show “NFL Countdown” is down 13 percent. Overall, viewership has fallen 10 percent in 2015, though network executives say that’s really 4 percent excluding World Cup and NASCAR events that didn’t air this year.

Now, instead of a Cardinals fan waiting all hour to see highlights of that night’s game, the same fan can go straight to the Cardinals’ website and see the highlights right away, without having to wade and wait through highlights he or she does not care about.

While this hurts ESPN overall, live sports rights are still the biggest boon to the Worldwide Leader in Sports and its family of networks. As long as they’re airing Monday Night Football, national baseball and basketball broadcasts, and plenty of college football, they’ll have eyes on their network. They will need to manage their expectations, however. And maybe cut back on the 24 hours of SportsCenter?

NFL Sunday Ticket – Week 15 Schedule, Only on DIRECTV

With only three weeks of the season remaining, the Carolina Panthers remain undefeated, the Patriots are back on top of the AFC, and the struggle for the NFC East crown and many Wild Card openings is still real. The AFC South is still also up for grabs, and at the other end of the league, in the south of the standings, players are playing for their pride while management hopes for a high draft pick. There aren’t many great matchups this week, but each and every game will have an impact at this point in the season, so be sure to stay tuned.

Here’s the schedule, along with channel listings, for Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket, only available with DIRECTV:

  • 1pm EST
    • Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens – 705
    • Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts – 706
    • Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots – 707
    • Buffalo Bills at Washington Redskins – 708
    • Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars – 709
    • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings – 710
    • Carolina Panthers at New York Giants – 711
  • 4:05pm EST
    • Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders – 713
    • Cleveland Browns at Seattle Seahawks – 714
  • 4:25pm EST
    • Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers – 712
    • Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers – 715
    • Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers – 716

As always, enjoy the games, and if you want to catch every game, every Sunday, contact Mid-America Satellite.

Canadian Cable TV Providers Hook Up with Netflix

While American cable TV providers are trying to find ways to compete with Netflix and avoid having their customers cut the cord, Canadian cable TV providers are joining forces with Netflix, taking on the philosophy, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Cogeco, one of Canada’s cable operators, provides direct access to Netflix through a TiVo-powered offering, and has been doing so for about a year. Now Bell has forged direct integration with Netflix, announcing Monday it would provide access to the streaming service through its Fibe and FibreOP TV services.

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Bell, which also markets its own multiplatform SVOD service, CraveTV, said all Fibe TV receivers have been automatically upgraded to support Netflix, which will offered as an app on the telco’s pay TV platforms.

Bell said it added 67,908 net new Fibe TV and FibreOP TV subs in Q3, and that it ended the period with 1.1 million IPTV subs, up 23% from the year-ago quarter.

Netflix launches service in Canada in 2010, but does not break out how many subscribers it has there. It ended the third quarter with 69.17 million subs worldwide, including 43.18 in the U.S.

These alliances are relatively new, so it’s hard to tell whether or not the cable companies are benefiting from the partnership, but one thing is for sure: if it does work in smaller Canadian markets, larger US telecom companies will surely try to follow.

DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket – Week 14 Schedule & Listings

Whereas a month ago playoff seeding seemed pretty much set, two straight losses by the New England Patriots, the Cincinnati Bengals regaining their form after a couple of losses, and Brock Osweiler performing well for the Denver Broncos have all shifted the balance in the AFC, leaving plenty of drama to play out this December in the AFC. Meanwhile, in the NFC the Carolina Panthers can clinch a bye with one more win, the 5-7 Philadelphia Eagles are very much alive in the NFC East despite all of their woes because of an upset win over the Patriots, and the AFC South is still up for grabs.

Here’s the schedule and channel listing for the Sunday’s games on NFL Sunday Ticket, available only on DIRECTV:

  • 1pm EST
    • Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers – 705
    • Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears – 706
    • San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns – 707
    • Detroit Lions at St. Louis Rams – 708
    • New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 709
    • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – 710
    • New England Patriots at Houston Texans – 711
    • Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars – 712
    • San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs – 713
    • Tennessee Titans at New York Jets – 714
    • Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles – 715
  • 4:05pm EST
    • Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – 716
  • 4:25pm EST
    • Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers – 717

Enjoy the games, and as always, if you want to catch every game, every Sunday, contact Mid-America Satellite.

Future Cable TV Costs Looking Good for Consumers

Cable TV consumers have been experiencing price hikes of an average of eight percent a year since 2010, and this year that resulted in an average cable TV bill reaching a record height of $99 per month. Predictions for next year show that prices should remain fairly stable, with some service prices going down and others remaining the same, which is good for consumers.

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Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, (CMCSA) announced that the rate for its most popular plan is going up 3.9% next year. And while there’s a mix of increases for some of its other plans, the charge for adding premium channel HBO is going down from $22 a month to only $15. Meanwhile, analysts expect Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Charter Communications (CHTR), the second- and fourth-largest operators, won’t raise rates much while their $55 billion merger deal remains under regulatory scrutiny.

Could it be that the millions of people forgoing or cutting back on cable television service — the so-called cord cutters and cord shavers — are finally having an impact?

That’s definitely part of the cable companies’ calculus. The number of households paying for TV service has been on the decline for several years, with almost another 1 million customers droppingover the past six months, according to research firm MoffettNathanson. A filing this week from Walt Disney (DIS) disclosed that its ESPN sports network has lost 7 million subscribers, a 7% decline, since 2013. At the same time, Internet streaming services from Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) and others are growing quickly.

“The cable companies are trying to run a business and they’re seeing costs rising on the programming side,” says Bruce Leichtman, president of the Leichtman Research Group. “At the same time, the market is saturated, even shrinking slightly, so they don’t want to raise the price of their bundles at the rate of increase of their programming costs.”

The impact of the Charter Communications/Time Warner merger for the time being is prices remaining stagnant, which is good for consumers in current Time Warner areas who will be moving to Charter Spectrum TV, Internet and Phone services. Check back to the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more information on cable rates as they become available.