Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Our ESPN Tour / MTV After Jersey Shore: Going Scripted? / ‘Indecency’ Tops TV’s Morality Cops

Our ESPN  Tour: Touchdown in Bristol!

On Tuesday, ESPN’s senior technology team kindly conducted us on a tour of their astounding Bristol CT facility.

Our client: Turkey’s Samanyolu Broadcasting Media Group, and its U.S. affiliate EBRU.

What did we learn?

  • We write a lot here about ‘scale’
  • Scale really matters in business … and its leverage leaps out at you in Bristol!

The estimated monthly U.S. subscriber revenue stream for ESPN is $400+ million.

  • Advertising, International and other revenue streams are additional
  • As are carriage fees earned by ESPN’s 7 other U.S. channels

Some ESPN highlights:

  • Bristol originates 100 hours of live programs daily
  • They are distributed on 34 networks in 119 countries, including 8 channels in U.S.
  • The Bristol facility covers 100 acres
  • 3,200 employees are engaged in content creation
  • The operation houses 106 servers, uses more fibre that most cities, and much  more

ESPN accesses, ingests, screens, pre-edits, edits, audio mixes, inserts, and plays out (what have we missed?) more live video than any network operation worldwide. 

ESPN’s massive scale drives continuous investment in innovating across the technologies and workflows that are employed at every stage of the value cycle.  

Our Takeaway

  • If you’re a global or regional broadcaster, or a network based on franchises like the NFL or Man U, go find and fill a unique gap in ESPN’s coverage of live sports
  • If your presentation is not unique and compelling, you’ll find that you’ve been lapped many times over by ESPN, or worse, knocked in a costly own goal

ESPN Documentaries

Watch out for our upcoming coverage of ESPN’s documentary unit: the 30 for 30 anniversary series, occasional docs, and plans for 2011 and beyond.


MTV Comes Back and Goes Scripted?

Read this week’s New York Times report on MTV and how it is reinventing itself beyond Jersey Shore.

And check out our recent coverage of the evolution of MTV’s ‘sweet spot’ and our report on Jersey Shore‘s talent deals.


Conservatives Losing TV’s Culture Wars

In a fascinating feature story in The New York Times, Brooks Barnes reports that the conservative Parents Television Council, which assailed and boxed in U.S. networks for a decade, is in disarray.  

According the Times, the Council is losing the fight against the resurgence in U.S. network programming of nudity, vulgarity and profanity.