Inside the Game: What Can Media Companies Learn from Sports?
ESPN president John Skipper discusses the ascendance of the live event, authenticated TV, cross-platform journalism, and the role of sports—and competition—in society.
Inside the Game: What Can Media Companies Learn from Sports?
Aspen Ideas Festival transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for the Aspen Institute, and the accuracy may vary. This text may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Aspen Institute programming is the video or audio.
THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2013
McNulty Room, Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows Resort
845 Meadows Road, 709 East Durant Avenue
Friday, June 28, 2013
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
Reporter, Enterprise Unit, ESPN;
Director, Sports and Society Program,
Editor, The Atlantic
President, ESPN Inc.;
Cochairman, Disney Media Network
* * * * *INSIDE THE GAME: WHAT CAN MEDIA COMPANIES LEARN FROM
MR. FARREY: You ready?
MR. SKIPPER: We're ready.
MR. FARREY: Okay. All right. Welcome, everybody, to
"Inside the Game: What Media Companies Can Learn From Sports." I'm
Tom Farrey and I'm an ESPN reporter and I also direct the Sports and
Society Program at the Aspen Institute here. I'm going to sort of set this up
with a little personal story that I -- hopefully is instructive. You know, I was
-- I'm not the smartest guy in the world. I'm from South Florida, didn't go to
the best school, probably read one book by the end of high school, didn't
have the greatest grades.
But I knew what I wanted to do when I was 17 years old,
which was to be a long-form investigative journalist. I grew up on the
Miami Herald which is a terrific newspaper and had a chance to work in
the newsroom of the Broward County bureau when I was a senior in high
school and meeting all these journalists who are going out and
interviewing, you know, going into places that they never would ordinarily
go, asking people questions that they would never have any right to ask
them, taking notes, coming back and telling people what they think or
what they've learned, and then a paycheck shows up in the mail 2 weeks
later. I said that's the best job in the world, that's what I want to do for the
rest of my life. So I kind of had a head start --
MR. SKIPPER: It's not that big a paycheck.
MR. FARREY: Not that big -- doesn't matter, right? Well, it
MR. FARREY: But you know, I knew what I wanted to do when
I was 17. So I had this head start. And so, you know, the advice I got from the reporters in the bureau there was, listen, when you go to college
don't worry about your classes. Nobody cares what your grade point
average is when you come out of college. Just get your degree, get
several clips that are really impressive, get some good experience with
major metropolitan newspapers and you're on your way.
And that's kind of what worked for me. I, you know, worked
for the Seattle Times right out of college, covered the NBA, didn't tell the
editor that I'd never seen an NBA game before, didn't really know
anything about the game. They just liked a couple of my clips and I was
sort of on my way. Good things started happening, you know, a couple
stories won national awards, I got -- one of my pieces got placed in the
Best American Sports Writing book.
And I thought, you know, things are going fantastic here. Then
I meet my wife, this dynamic woman who -- whose family happens to own
the Seattle Times and one of us had to go. She had a better career track
than me. So here I am thinking, wow, where else am I going to work in
Seattle and be a journalist. Well, fortunately at that time the Internet was
coming along. And I've written a story about a company called Starwave
which had created a website and actually done a deal with ESPN to use
those four letters -- actually it was six letters at the time, right, ESPNet?
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah.
MR. FARREY: ESPNet SportsZone was what it was called.
And so I started -- I decided to work for Starwave. And on my goingaway party for the Seattle Times they gave me a pocket protector and they
gave me glasses under the idea that I was leaving journalism and moving
into software, that somehow I was giving up my career. And what I didn't
really have the heart to tell them was, you know, I think I'm going into the
You know, this is where TV was in the 1950s and this is kind of
an opportunity for me to be part of something that's really cool and it's
going to come around. And I didn't know how long it would be, whether
it would be 5 years or 15 years before the Internet and digital technology
had really revolutionized the industry. But I knew it was going to happen at some point. And -- but what I didn't realize was it was who would help
push that transformation, and that would be John Skipper.
John Skipper, you know, started with ESPN -- well, you were
with Disney and then you started with ESPN in -- with the Magazine in the
late '90s, took over espn.com, moved into TV, took over the whole content
division and then a few years ago was promoted to president and cochair
of Disney Media Networks.
And what John has done is, you know, while these news
companies were out there trying to -- traditional companies were trying to
move their product into this new generation and struggling with it. I was
going to these journalism conferences, you know, nobody was really
paying attention to what ESPN was doing, which was mastering the art of
cross-platform content. We were doing it. We were -- just weren't seen as
a news company.
But you know, John was, you know, building up the magazine
and TV and digital this and bringing it all together. Even the books -- I
mean you didn't even -- you didn't abandon books, thank God. And one
of them was my book, Game On: The All-American Race to Make
Champions of Our Children, which was this journalistic survey of youth
sports in America and how we ended up being sort of the world's sports
superpower as well as, you know, one with this terrible obesity crisis
where you have, you know, your sports haves and have-nots. That led to
the lecture tour.
One of those places was the Aspen Ideas Festival. And when I
was on the tour, people would say, oh, this is really fantastic, I love this,
this is great. Now, what do we do about it? How do we begin to solve
some of the problems that are identified in this book?
And so when the institute thought about creating the Sports and
Society Program, I thought hey, maybe this is an opportunity to kind of get
people around the table, the smart, the brightest minds, you know, the
most well-positioned leaders, and identify the -- you know, the best ideas
that are out there, the breakthrough strategies, and you know, and also
spin off some journalism, solution style journalism, you know.There's a piece that I have in ESPN Magazine -- you're
welcome to pick up an issue, they're in the back there -- that's all about
kids' sports that John signed off on. And it's about U.S.A. hockey and how
they're trying to revolutionize sports in this country. Well, this is an idea
that came to me through one of these convenings we've had with the
Aspen Institute. So that's a very long-winded way of saying John Skipper is
-- you know, he's a pioneer.
And now ESPN, because of its ability to do cross-platform
content in a superior way, is a $10-billion company. It is all over the
world. 115 million people in February consumed its content. And I think
there's an awful lot that media companies -- as well as companies in
general, because we're all kind of content providers these days, right --
can learn from ESPN and from sports and its competitive culture.
And so to pull that out of John, we're bringing in someone
who's a lot smarter than myself. And that would be Derek Thompson who
is -- who oversees the business coverage at The Atlantic, senior editor. He
is also, like John, a graduate of Columbia.
MR. THOMPSON: I'm an adjunct professor there.
MR. SKIPPER: Okay.
MR. FARREY: You're an adjunct professor?
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah.
MR. FARREY: Okay.
MR. THOMPSON: I didn't graduate --
MR. FARREY: All right. Okay. Sorry. But there's a connection.
MR. THOMPSON: Right.
MR. FARREY: And he -- MR. SKIPPER: I think we slightly missed each other.
MR. THOMPSON: Just missed barely, yeah --
MR. SKIPPER: Couple years.
MR. FARREY: A couple years. He writes a terrific blog. So
with that, Derek, take it away.
MR. THOMPSON: Thanks so much.
MR. SKIPPER: Thank you, Tom. That was very kind.
MR. THOMPSON: Thank you, Tom. I'm Derek Thompson. I'm
the business editor at The Atlantic. When The Atlantic asked me to
interview John Skipper, I said not only am I happy to, I actually just talked
to him for 45 minutes on the phone a week ago because I'm in the
process of writing a column right now about ESPN. So that's full
disclosure. And what I've learned writing this column is that no matter
how big you think ESPN is, ESPN is bigger.
Name any brand out there -- CBS, the Wall Street Journal,
Count and Ask (phonetic) -- ESPN isn't just bigger than all those companies
combined. By valuation, ESPN is bigger than all those companies
combined times two. And the amazing thing about this company isn't just
how big it is, it's also the emotional connection. When I was talking to
some of your vice presidents, they told me about this vault that you have of
memories that people have of ESPN. Hundreds of people have ESPN
tattoos in their body. Try to imagine someone having a tattoo of the
Weather Channel, or God knows, Fox News on their back.
MR. THOMPSON: Thirty-six couples have named their child
Espn. And my favorite anecdote is that they got a call a couple --
MR. SKIPPER: Not really a great idea.MR. THOMPSON: Not a great idea, I know, not advised,
right, but if -- couple years ago they got a call from someone who wanted
to put "ESPN" on her father's gravestone because she said all he did was
watch ESPN. So they called their chief counsel and he says, well, I'm fine
with this so long as they write "a fan of ESPN" because with a tombstone
that says "ESPN" on it, we don't want any confusion about cause of death.
MR. THOMPSON: These are some silly data points but they
accumulate to a bigger picture, which is that this is a brand that's become
so famous it's become synonymous with its subject. And there's a positive
to that obviously and there's a danger as well, you know. When you
become an establishment brand, there's a challenge of dealing with how
big you are and people wanting something smaller, especially in a
fragmented media environment.
So to start with ESPN, I actually would start with you. Take us
back to 2005. ESPN has put you in charge of its content. You're coming
off a few down years in the ratings. And you told me that you had a
strategy that could essentially fit on a napkin in terms of the quadrants.
Can you talk to us through that strategy?
MR. SKIPPER: Well, I'll give you a couple of things. Without a
moment of television experience, in October of 2005 got put in charge of
the company that does more television that any other company in the
world. Now, the good news is I wasn't going to do much to that
television. My job is to think about the totality of that content and how we
create it, how we disseminate it, distribute it to fans.
My point of view in October 2005 was that live sports were
going to become the most viable content in media and that what we
ought to do at ESPN is to acquire aggregated portfolio of live rights
because that's what fans really care about. What you really want to care
about with your sports company is watching -- right now we have
Wimbledon on, and we have Wimbledon from the first serve to the last
point where we can allow fans to watch all of it.And we're getting into an environment as one of ESPN's great
accomplishments -- I was not there for it, I got there in 1997, but if you
think about what ESPN did to the culture and society, they made sports
ubiquitous. We got a kind of variety of age groups in this room, but I see
some of my contemporaries. And we remember when there was one
college football game on Saturday and one Major League Baseball
That seems an unimaginable world today for a sports fan who
has the opportunity to watch everything pretty much. And that is only
going to continue. I mean, we believe -- we have a channel called
ESPN3 which is a broadband channel, not a linear 24/7 television
channel, where we can do multiple games. And we have done dozens
of games at one time. We did 82 games in one day on that channel, so
that you can go in and pick. So pretty soon -- if you're a University of
Florida fan -- I'm thinking about my new acquaintance, Jake, who I just met
here. So who's your college team, Jake?
MR. SKIPPER: Michigan? I got it. You're living in Tampa,
Florida and your baseball -- you're a Knicks fan and a University of
Michigan fan. By the way, it is kind of what happens in today's sports
world, right? It's a little displaced; it's not quite local teams. But every
University of Michigan varsity event is going to be on television pretty soon.
Well, forget television, it's going to be available on your screen.
And that screen is going to be hooked up of course through an
Internet connection so that you can watch whatever you want to watch
and you'll be able to watch some Michigan volleyball game. Does your
sister play any sports there?
MR. SKIPPER: Okay.
MR. THOMPSON: I think people here would be surprised to learn that ESPN makes most of its money through a channel of revenue
that a lot of people who don't know TV economics don't even know exists
which is that --
MR. SKIPPER: We'd rather keep it that way here -- if you're
going to go in a different direction --
MR. THOMPSON: And so I'm actually going to spill the secret
right now. So keep it off the record if you wish. Every month you pay
about $80 for cable TV, right? What you might not know is that about
30 of those dollars go straight to the networks and 5 of those dollars every
month goes to ESPN. Simple math -- $5 a month times 12 months a year
is $60, $60 times about a hundred million or just less than that -- pay TV
customers who have ESPN is about $6 billion.
ESPN makes $6 billion before they count a single cent of
advertising. It is a remarkable business model and it's built around the
power of live sports and sports rights.
MR. SKIPPER: Well -- and again, you go back to live sports.
It's the only thing you have to watch when it happens, which makes it
more and more valuable. You've just spilled our entire business plan, but
of course, you are the business head for The Atlantic, so it wouldn't
surprise me that you're savvy in those ways. I would of course suggest we
bring by far the most value to that system. Thirty-five percent of the people
who have a pay television subscription suggest that they would not have
one if they didn't have ESPN on it, so.
MR. THOMPSON: Right. And that's precisely -- yeah, I mean
sports programming now accounts for half of the total cost of
programming, and these live sports rights because you are bidding for it
and TNT is bidding for it and Fox is bidding for it, these costs are going
MR. SKIPPER: They are going up.
MR. THOMPSON: And people know, people see every
month their cable bundle costs are going up and live sports are a big part of the reason. So defend this. If you say defend the inflation of people's
cable bundle because of people like ESPN buying its sports rights and
creating this competitive atmosphere --
MR. SKIPPER: Look we -- ultimately, we don't set the retail
price. We buy rights from leagues, we have -- they're very expensive.
Well, I'm -- we're getting -- I won't confirm that number, but I won't dispute
it up here. But we take -- we start with paying $1.9 billion to the NFL
every year. We're paying $700 million to Major League Baseball every
year. These are very expensive rights. So while we're getting the highest
subscription price, we have the highest expenses to provide that.
And the people who are paying that understand that and know
that. They're good partners of ours; it's not really for me to defend. I mean
$5 a month for what we provide you, you watch Monday Night Football,
Sunday Night Baseball, all of the new College Football. Playoff system on
ESPN would be 1,500 college basketball games a year, 500 college
football games a year. We have more -- we have twice as much regular
season baseball as any other national entity.
You can watch all of Wimbledon, all of the U.S. Open Tennis
starting in '15, all of the British Open, Little League World Series. I mean it
kind of goes on and on and on to your point. And we believe that's good
value and that's what people want to watch. It is the favorite channel
among all men. It's a favorite channel among adults -- 18 to 49. It is
acknowledged by all the distributors and all the fans as the thing singly
most important to them to get on their television set.
Again, all this happened well before I got there. So I want to
be clear that I am the great beneficiary to inheriting this. Actually Tom was
very generous -- including generous with how long I've been the president.
I've been the president for about 18 months. So I inherit this and my job is
to sort of sustain it, grow it, and figure out what to do next -- I'm sorry.
MR. THOMPSON: Oh no, that's fine -- no --
MR. SKIPPER: Ask -- MR. THOMPSON: One thing that's so amazing about ESPN
is that even though you make 80 percent of your money through television,
through advertising and through the subscription fees, the way that I
interact with it by far the most is through my phone and on my keyboard.
But I'm going into a new Wi-Fi zone. I'm trying test that what the Wi-Fi is.
The muscle memory in my fingers goes E-S-P-N.
It's -- I can feel it right now -- it's middle left finger, ring finger,
pinkie -- like, it's the first site that I check. How have you been so successful
-- in particular at building out the video presence of ESPN, and taking
what you do so well in television and making it so immediately transferable
MR. SKIPPER: Let me tell you how we think of this
philosophically. We want to provide sports content to sports fans
wherever they want to get it. So we don't think of making the money or
that our core business is television. What we think is we have this vast
panoply of content that we present the fans, whether you get on
espn.com, you read the magazine. We have 400 affiliate radio stations
around the country.
We have Grantland, which is an affiliate site of ours. We do
have seven linear television networks, we put a lot of video across a lot of
places on the Web, we have a significant mobile content. So we want
you to think that you're getting from this company this great content, we --
and not really think about it coming from one place or the other or it being
content on the radio or on television, but coming to you from ESPN.
We have only one brand name. We have lots of competitors
who have similar dispensations of content. You know, Time Warner had
a magazine called Sports Illustrated. They owned AOL sports, they --
MR. THOMPSON: HAS (phonetic).
MR. SKIPPER: The HAS -- I had forgotten about it.
(Laughter)MR. SKIPPER: They own TNT and TBS. They had sports on
television under multiple brands, names, created by different divisions
presented to the public with different graphics and different feel and tone
and attitude. We only have one ESPN. You heard Tom reference -- we
only have one content group. We have a group that creates content and
we distribute that content across multiple platforms so that you may see the
same video on espn.com that you can get an alert on your phone that
appears in the SportsCenter highlight that we are on.
And that may also appear on the YouTube channel which we
have, that you can send through your Twitter account, that you can also
post on your Facebook page so that we want to be -- wherever sports fans
are we want to be their provider of content. We want them to think of us
as a big sports fan. Hence the -- this is SportsCenter campaign, right,
which is -- convinces you that we're just a bunch of fun-loving sports guys
up in Bristol, Connecticut, having a good time and bringing you the same
sports that you love.
MR. THOMPSON: Right.
MR. SKIPPER: That's how we want to feel.
MR. THOMPSON: One thing that I think is unique about both
you and ESPN in your situation is that a lot of media companies right now,
they are trying to have a digital presence. They have print guys at the
helm. They have legacy print guys which means they have guys who
understand, like, how column space works in adjacent pages. And now
they have to think about something totally different, which is a world
without adjacent pages and without column inches.
You are the exact opposite. You came from espn.com into a
television business. I mean do you think that has a big thing to do with
how all multimedia ESPN has been?
MR. SKIPPER: I don't know. I mean it might -- I mean I think it
was a benefit to me. You know, you heard me say I was managing all
those television certainly not having been in television. I think it did allow
me not to think there was a way to do things that had to be -- I mean you had rules and things. You really got to give credit to George
Bodenheimer who was the president at the time who -- what he wanted to
do was to have this single content engine and have it all feel like it came
from one place.
And I think he understood that if television people are in charge
they would always believe that television is the most important. And if you
brought somebody from the outside --
MR. THOMPSON: And (inaudible) it still is.
MR. SKIPPER: It is, but again, you don't in some ways even
know where the money comes because -- from anymore. We do literally.
But if we can tell people on a mobile alert that a show is on that night and
we have in the magazine an article written by somebody who's a
SportsCenter anchor, it just underpins it all and it pluses it all, right? So
you might receive the money from distributors because of the value of that
network and advertisers who won't advertise across all these platforms.
But it's a little bit of a self -- you know, it's -- it all kind of works
for everything else. I mean we look at our -- we do examine our bottom
line, we're kind of, gee, we make a lot of money with the magazine. We
really need to keep doing it. And the answer is yes, 15 million people
every 2 weeks read the magazine now. It happens to be -- have the
largest African-American young male audience of any magazine, any kind
So how valuable is that in our getting people's network? It
happens to be that African-Americans index, it's over 200 watching
SportsCenter. So it's a way for me to keep those young men connected
with the brand. They spend time with the magazine, they watch more
SportsCenter. They're this amazing phenomenon that the more of anything
anybody does, the more of everything else they do.
Other media companies worried -- oh my gosh -- somebody
famously said one time -- I won't quote him because he'll be mad at me -- I
won't say who it is -- but he famously said, I don't want to trade an analog
dollar for a digital dime. And his concern was, gee, if I do a great website with the same brand and put content on that, I'm just going to
cannibalize this great business I have over here. You don't cannibalize
that business. What you do is you augment that business. I want analog
dollar and I'd like the digital dime, I'd like the mobile nickel, and an app
penny. And you add it all up and you got $1.16.
MR. THOMPSON: Right.
MR. SKIPPER: These guys now don't have a dollar anymore,
right, because they resisted the idea that you needed to disseminate that
content on other platforms. And they were afraid of it and they're making
good money and going home to big houses in Connecticut. They didn't
MR. THOMPSON: In my interview with your director of
research, he had this amazing factoid, which really speaks to this idea of
an ecosystem of ESPN. So if you're a football fan you'll know that ESPN
doesn't show a single minute of daytime Sunday football, live football.
They own Monday Night Football, but there's -- but they don't show any
games on Sunday.
Even so, the average number of people who are on an ESPN
digital or mobile property, and at any given minute on a Sunday, is
900,000. 900,000 is a TV rating. That's what Girls gets on HBO. It's
what NewsHour gets on PBS -- 900,000. And so it's this ability to build
and spin off and send back and build --
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah. And understand that's an average
minute, that so many people in any given minute are on. It would be a
total audience of about 12 million people who come to check scores,
come to check their fantasy roster and see how they're doing --
MR. THOMPSON: Well, now you're just bragging.
MR. SKIPPER: Pardon? I have not, I apologize.
MR. THOMPSON: One thing that I think is so interesting is that
I think people in here looking for analogs of ESPN are thinking about is that, you know, we're living in an age of personalities to a certain extent.
Lawrence O'Donnell, when he was on the stage right in this seat
essentially said, you know, people don't go to cable news to learn the
news. They go to hear Op-Ed TV. They go to hear what their favorite
personality is saying.
And it's interesting because around the time that you took over
as director of ESPN, of content, you launched PTI, Pardon the Interruption,
with Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. And I have -- I feel, like, given the
success of that show there's been a proliferation of personality-driven cable
news'ish or going to the debate major storylines in sports -- I might be right,
you might be wrong, (inaudible). Was that a deliberate strategy that
cable news --
MR. SKIPPER: Well, first I should give credit to my predecessor
who started PTI. So I -- that was another -- I'm the beneficiary once again
of smart people before me. Look, they're -- sports fans want to see the
games, the games are preeminent. But when we have all these big game
audiences, we want to deliver those audiences to something else. So if a
whole bunch of people -- we just had a, you know, a very successful NBA
So if millions of people are watching, you'll notice that when
we -- there were 28 million people on average core are watching the
seventh game of the NBA. We sent them to SportsCenter. You know,
when this game is over go to SportsCenter which is why you see us go off
very quickly at the end of the game and go to SportsCenter to sell those
shows. Personalities are hard.
I mean, we -- you know, we have a thousand people under
contract to do -- to write, appear on the radio, to do SportsCenter, to do
PTI, to do College Football App, the NFL Countdown. It's a lot of people.
Finding breakthrough personalities is really hard. We do have one real
advantage. If you're competing for news, you -- everybody is competing
against each other. Live events are unreplicable, right? If we have the
Rose Bowl everybody has to come to ESPN for the Rose Bowl. So it is a
different phenomenon.So I would think the news is much more personality-driven or
tone-driven or attitude-driven because it got to get a certain audience there
because you can't own the inauguration. I always thought if they put me
in charge of the news, I'm going to try to buy the exclusive rights to the
election, you know. So -- the only place you get the election is ABC
News. You got to tune in. It's got -- somebody's got to be willing to take
MR. THOMPSON: Are you advising the head of ABC News
of that very same?
MR. SKIPPER: They claim it's not possible.
MR. THOMPSON: They claim it's not possible -- some civic
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah, they claim it's not possible.
MR. THOMPSON: You know, one of the personalities that
has been some success for you is Bill Simmons. He's probably my favorite
sports writer. He's also a bit of an iconoclast but also a beautiful longform thinker and deeply serious fan of sports. How do you take someone
like that who potentially has the ability to, you know, maybe bristle some
higher-ups, the suits if you will --
MR. SKIPPER: Well, you know, there are -- by the way, you
got to remember there are no higher-ups.
MR. THOMPSON: Than Bill Simmons?
MR. SKIPPER: No, than me.
MR. THOMPSON: It's just you. All right, then he bristles you?
MR. SKIPPER: So I'm the suits to bristle, and I'm not that hard.
It's not that --
MR. THOMPSON: How do you get something like that though and tell them like that? How do you give them the space to do
whatever they want while still saying, look, if you have a problem with
ESPN, please don't criticize us directly in your tweets. How do you
manage that sort of --
MR. SKIPPER: Well, you kind of got to -- I mean Bill is a
passionate -- I know we got some Bill Simmons fan here. I know Jake was.
You -- some of you -- do you read Bill Simmons?
SPEAKER: A little bit.
MR. SKIPPER: Little bit? Any other Bill Simmons fans here? I
mean -- yeah. The guy is fabulous. What the guy did -- he's a very good
writer, he experiments with forms. You remember when he does the movie
quotes and explains the whole year in movie quotes. He's a much more
clever writer than you think he is because he plays the every-fan role. I'm
the every fan, you're going to go to see a game next to me and it would
be really fun, we'd have a beer.
You -- if he wouldn't have -- he would because he's a good
fan. On the other hand, Bill would know everything. He is exhaustive and
exhausting. And he's a very good writer, he's very smart. And look, you --
in any place where you're dealing with talent and it is -- it's not a direct
correlation. I think that's silly when people say the most talented people
are the most difficult -- they're not.
But there is sometimes a correlation between people who have
unique skills and sensibilities and really care about stuff tend to cause the
most trouble. And we think Bill's worth the trouble. By the way, he just
wrote a 13,000-word story on the Tim Duncan era --
MR. THOMPSON: Oh, really?
MR. SKIPPER: -- which he wrote sort of in his hotel room after
being on television doing --
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)MR. THOMPSON: I was going to say I haven't read anything
he's written --
MR. SKIPPER: Johnny -- 4 weeks. There's the --
MR. THOMPSON: You --
MR. SKIPPER: This is -- by the way, this is John Walsh who is
among the great geniuses behind ESPN that I rely. By the way, John is the
guy who brought Bill Simmons to ESPN. I know that Vince Doria told you
to pay attention to him, but you -- and he brought him to -- for -- to us for
Page 2 on espn.com when -- Tom was talking about that in Seattle.
MR. THOMPSON: You know you're a great writer when
people remember how long it's been between the times you've written -- I
mean -- speaking of him bristling a parent company -- I'm trying to make
this transition so it'll be a little hand fisting. You have a parent company,
Walt Disney Company. You're worth $40 billion, they're worth $110
MR. SKIPPER: Well, we are not worth anything except we're --
MR. THOMPSON: Would you be -- your valuation --
MR. SKIPPER: -- we're part of the valuation of the Walt Disney
MR. THOMPSON: Which --
MR. SKIPPER: -- and not actually separately broken out.
MR. THOMPSON: Why not? Why not break out?
MR. SKIPPER: Because it's part of the Media Networks and
that's how we run the business. And I am actually the co-head of the
Media Networks, so that is a division that is reported. I think it probably is
a little bit of a legacy, we've actually got a guy here who might be able to
answer that in Mr. Eisner, who is the guy who bought ESPN for the Walt Disney Company in 1995 and it wasn't worth breaking out at the time.
I think you understood that it would be, but it was not worth
breaking out at the time and that's still a legacy. And there's really no
benefit to us to provide that level of detail --
MR. THOMPSON: Right.
MR. SKIPPER: -- to be -- just to be candid.
MR. THOMPSON: But sort of speaking of (inaudible), you
know, techies are really fond of this -- the cord-cutting narrative. And very
briefly for those of you who don't know it, it's this idea that, you know, we
had cable TV for decades, it's worked, it's wonderful, but now you have
Netflix and you can get Hulu over the Internet.
You have all these TV options, why not just proverbially cut the
cord and just get all of your television, most of it's going to be delayed, not
a lot (inaudible) -- programming from your Internet, it would be cheaper.
Does ESPN -- are you developing a post cord-cutting strategy or do you
already have that somehow in the --
MR. SKIPPER: Look, it behooves us to be aware of what's
going on, to think about it, and think how we would exist in such a world.
It's not actually happening to any significant extent right now and where it
is happening, it's mostly about economics. It's mostly about -- as you
referenced, I think the literal average cost of the pay television subscription
And for a certain quintile of the American population which
makes to -- under $20,000 of the household income, that's a lot of
money. We're cognizant of that. Again, we don't set the retail price but
we're cognizant of that. The -- this is no good to breaking that up for
anybody except the very -- the people at the very top of the food chain,
which would ultimately include us.
MR. THOMPSON: Right.MR. SKIPPER: Right now you get a bundle of 250, 300
channels. The average hour consumed on that bundle is $0.23. That's
what it costs, the average hour for the American family to watch an hour
of cable television.
MR. THOMPSON: And that's assuming they watch about,
what, 4 hours of TV a day just like in ESPN?
MR. SKIPPER: I believe they watch a lot more than that.
MR. THOMPSON: Okay.
MR. SKIPPER: I mean I think it's the family, and again it matters
(inaudible). I don't know answer, though, like, I don't know the numbers.
If you try to begin to break this up -- I have guys ask me at digital
conferences why can't I just buy the Masters if I want to watch the Masters.
Why can't I just buy Monday Night Football? And the answer is right
now you watch Monday Night Football it costs you about $0.60. If we
break all this up, it'll cost you 3 bucks or it'll cost you 5 bucks to watch the
It'll cost you $19.95 to watch all of Wimbledon. It -- because
we benefit from the economics that Derek laid out before, and it will not
be the same. By the way, the people who would suffer the most would be
about 150 of those 200 channels who will not be able to exist. As soon
as you ask people to tick a box and say do you want to get the BET
network, they'll get about 2.2 million people tick it and they will not be
able to afford to produce that content.
It's a pretty good system. It's worked very well to provide
people a lot of entertainment and it can coexist with Netflix and Hulu and
over the top. You have more ways to get video than you've ever had to
get video now. There is a proliferation of content that everybody can get.
You can get it on multiple devices. We are certainly not going to be the
people breaking up the model.
MR. THOMPSON: Right, right. I want to turn it a little bit to
sort of media in general. And do you watch cable news?MR. SKIPPER: Do I watch cable news, not very much.
MR. THOMPSON: You don't watch cable news?
MR. SKIPPER: We produce 5 or 6 hours of television an hour.
So if I watch anything other than ESPN, I'm only getting further behind. So
no, I'm an old -- I'm a dinosaur in this context. I read the New York Times
every morning on paper. That's kind of how I get my news. My kids call
me and tell me what's on their Twitter feed, if something really important
happens like it happened in the Boston Marathon. And then I might cut
on and watch CNN which would kind of suit my taste.
MR. THOMPSON: Okay. Well, so -- I mean, I heard you
talking on -- I think on this stage or one of the other stages about the
problem with broadcast programming and some of the challenges that
they have in order of producing great scripted drama when you have
wonderful shows on cable that don't have to compete by the same sort of
You know, as a part of this ecosystem of the ABC family do you
do thinking and strategic advising for some parts of this -- of the company
that are struggling to produce the same kind of must-watch television that
you sort of get inherently when you buy the sports rights of the NBA, the
NFL, the MLB?
MR. SKIPPER: Right. Not -- there are a lot of people who
understand that business significantly better than I do. I'm sometimes at the
table for a discussion but I'm not a significant contributor to that. It is a
very challenged environment clearly, the network prime-time environment
where -- you know, which at one point was what the American
entertainment that was, right? You -- again, we are among folks here of a
certain generation -- that's what we did.
We sort of picked out between the three or four major networks
-- what you were going to watch at night and you sat down and watched
it. That's gone. And there's so much proliferation. I just had a panel
before where I learned something which is there are 43 networks buying scripted drama right now -- 43 networks. So that is a big universe to play
and many of those networks have a lot of freedom. They're not on public
spectrum, so they can use obscenity and they can show nudity and they
can do very adult themes, and those things resonate.
They also have an interesting thing which is nobody really
knows how many people watch them. I mean, all they care about is how
many people renew their subscription to HBO or Showtime. AMC is
riding on the same system --
MR. THOMPSON: They make all their money from --
MR. SKIPPER: -- affiliate fees. So -- and Netflix, you know, is
benefiting from the same thing. They declared that Game of Thrones was
an unprecedented success. I have yet to understand or see how many
people watched. For the networks, they have this unbelievable level of
scrutiny and they have this thing called a Nielsen box where everybody
knows how many people watch. So it's kind of a different -- kind of a
different animal. And they've got challenges.
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah. The challenge of diversification and
fragmentation that is challenging, I guess in scripted drama and a lot of
other media, it exists in sports as well. I'm wondering if ESPN is aware of,
pays attention to, learns from newer entries like Bleacher Report or SB
Nation, or you know, BuzzFeed Sports, who knows. Are you reading,
watching and learning as opposed to Sports Illustrated where you've
simply decided that --
MR. SKIPPER: Well, I loved Sports Illustrated while I was a kid.
It's a great magazine. The -- yeah, we pay attention to everything. It's not
really -- we had to be careful what we adapt. I mean, some of these
people with their brands can get away with regular people blogging and
suggesting their opinions. We have a very viable brand and a very --
people trust what we do. And we have SportsCenter, we have Outside
the Lines, we have E:60, there's a magazine, we've got an awful lot of
And for us to exist under the same brand name with basically a group of fans, you know, an Alabama fan and a Florida fan and a
Michigan fan and a Nebraska fan basically writing about rumors and
what they hear is a little hard for us to do. So we pay attention, they
compete for eyeballs; they don't read the materially mad or relative to the
overall conversation and what we are doing.
And Tom quoted the statistic. We have 115 million people
who watch or listen to ESPN every week. And you got to keep in mind
what really is important. Those things are very interesting, but they are --
we're not getting ready to throw out journalists and curation for a bunch of
folks who are passionate fans. We have a place for them to play, right?
We participate with Twitter and with Facebook. And we run on
espn.com. We have ways to get engaged and give us your point of
view. But it's not presented as content from ESPN.
MR. THOMPSON: Keep it that -- right, right. There's a harsh
line. A few weeks ago ESPN announced of its laying off 400 people,
about 5 percent of its workforce. I think for a lot of people in my part of
the world, it wasn't just surprising because we had a general sense of how
successful ESPN was. It was surprising because we had a very concrete
sense of how successful you were. You're enormous, it's the most powerful
media brand in the world laying off 5 percent of its workforce.
Are you -- one, are you -- one, why? And two, are you
downsizing or are you laying off these divisions and then hiring in separate
divisions so that the total of result would be --
MR. SKIPPER: We are not awfully downsizing. And listen,
there's nothing trivial and nothing easy about eliminating people's jobs.
And that's actually even a wrong way to say it. You're actually telling
people that they're no longer employed at ESPN. There is no fun to that.
What we did was embark on a look at our entire company -- we had not
done this for a log time -- how the business has changed and where we
had legacy, departments, where we had things we were doing that we
no longer needed to do, that technology had made obsolete.
We had a Denver office -- I'm sorry, because we're here in
Colorado -- to point this out -- but we had a Denver office which was a legacy of the days when there were hundreds of cable operators and we
had offices around the country. There's really only 10 deals you do
anymore with the distributors. We didn't need that office, we shut that
office. We have not seen much take-up in 3-D for sports events and
people watching 3-D, so we quit doing 3-D. So the people who were
doing 3-D no longer have a job.
Those are hard things to do, but we are in the -- we're getting
ready to hire 100 people to do the SEC Network. We are adding
people because we have a new 190,000 square foot digital center
we're opening up and we're moving SportsCenter into that. We are
hiring people in mobile and new platforms. We're hiring new software
developers. So while a hard thing to do, what we did was take a look at
our organization, figure out where we were doing things we didn't need
We sold some television networks in Asia. We exited some
television networks in Europe. We are interested in having our -- it's one of
the hardest things in a job like this is you're obligated to think about your
resources -- people, money, technology, time. And what can -- what do
you -- how are you going to deploy those to make the most difference.
I could take a hundred people and put them on the SEC
Network and we can generate significant revenue, reach more fans than I
can with, unfortunately, a hundred of the 400 people we laid off who
were in jobs. It wasn't personal. They were in jobs that weren't making a
MR. THOMPSON: Right. I have one last question, it's the
most serious question. Tim Tebow has played a starring role in your
coverage both on television and digital -- voluminous I would describe is
the coverage. It looked for a while that he'd be out of the NFL forever.
Every team had essentially passed on him.
And then it happens that the New England Patriots, the team
perhaps closest to Bristol, decides to sign Tim Tebow. So my question for
you -- you are on the on the record -- is how much did you pay Bill
Belichick to hire Tim Tebow?MR. SKIPPER: Zero. We did not pay Bill Belichick. Of course
it may turn out to be a prescient move, right, you need to tie it in --
MR. THOMPSON: I was actually --
MR. SKIPPER: -- I'm sorry to say. The --
MR. THOMPSON: (Inaudible).
MR. SKIPPER: Look, Belichick, who of course is an interesting
guy, but of course is one of the smartest guys in football. We'll figure out a
smart way to use Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow -- and again, we're here near
Denver. Tim Tebow -- and by the way I think Josh McDaniels was the
coach then, was it --
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah.
MR. SKIPPER: -- Josh McDaniels was the coach; they used
Tebow pretty successfully. I mean they won some games; they actually got
it into the first round of the playoffs. I'm a New York Jets fan. So this is all
very painful. Very painful.
MR. SKIPPER: We pick up Tim Tebow is nothing but a
distraction. He makes Mark Sanchez nervous. Mark Sanchez gets
worse. They never put him in because the -- I forget -- I don't know who --
I'm sure there's a disagreement here between the coach and the
(inaudible). But they got Josh McDaniels and not the Patriots. I suspect, as
a Jets fan, I'm going to have to put up with watching Tim Tebow make a
difference in -- for the New England Patriots would be my guess. You're
MR. THOMPSON: I think you are the only New York Jets fan
who thinks Tim Tebow is to make a difference.SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: Pardon?
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah, but --
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: I don't think we're going to have a good year,
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: His comment by the way is (inaudible) oh my
God it's going to be harmful.
MR. THOMPSON: Well, speaking of audience engagement,
actually those are the end of my questions. So where -- who has the mic?
Let's go right there first.
MR. SKIPPER: Right in the middle there.
MR. THOMPSON: We have about 12 minutes.
MR. SKIPPER: Okay.
SPEAKER: Hi. And thanks for being here. I'm a ESPN super
user. I'm an insider. I love your content. It's a great program -- a great
network. Everything is great about it. I'm also a Big East basketball fan.
So the dissolution of the league or the changing of the league obviously
was a little disappointing to me. So I wonder how ESPN thinks about
how the fact that you provide so much content drives amateur athletics to
change, to become something else.MR. SKIPPER: But first let me respond to the fact that all of your
compliments, you are a super user, by saying how handsome you are and
what a good-looking guy you are and how smart you must be.
MR. SKIPPER: The -- look, it's interesting. I mean, there is little
doubt that the infusion of all of this money into college athletics is in some
places corrupting. I mean, I think we're careful about what we do. You
heard Tom reference the Magazine. Please get a Magazine on the way
out. It's a fairly serious look at kids and how they participate in sports and
what matters and how it could be better.
We have news journalism organization that covers these issues.
So we are in kind of a funny place where we're in partnership, we're also
covering it, and then we had to sort of deal with -- you had -- we had to
deal with in the last couple years this flight of schools wanting to find a
conference where they could get more money. And it was very disruptive,
we didn't like it, we didn't want schools to move around. We would
prefer they didn't.
But as we were doing deals, we do a big deal with the Big 12
and a school would exit the Big East, West Virginia, because the Big 12
was getting more money. We think we, with some of the big conference
have stabilized that now. The schools have now all put their rights into the
deals which means they can't leave. So the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten,
ACC and SEC you essentially have stability now. You are a Big East fan --
it's a shame what happened to the Big East because I'm an ACC guy.
I went to North Carolina and love the ACC. And the dirty
secret of the last few years in college basketball is the Big East was a
better basketball conference. But now it's broken up into the AAC and the
Big East. We don't even have a primary deal with the Big East. Fox has
the primary deal with the Big East. They will still have some good
basketball but nothing like what they had before. So, you know, I don't
know what else to say there.But we didn't like that and again, that's a nefarious effect. We
don't intend to have a nefarious effect into the system. But once you
unleash money, sometimes it's astonishing what it does.
MR. THOMPSON: Let's go right here.
MR. SKIPPER: But since he's right next door, why don't we --
we can answer more if we get close and then we'll go up here.
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah.
SPEAKER: I'm very happy to be watching the Confederations
Cup on ESPN and I --
MR. SKIPPER: Thank you.
SPEAKER: The question is what is the ESPN's future commitment
to soccer? Right now to really see good soccer -- beIN Sport and Fox
Soccer on network. Are you going to be absorbing some of those
contracts like the Barclays Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, that sort of --
MR. SKIPPER: We -- it's interesting. We began -- again, one of
the -- when I got my content job, one of the things I was very bullish on
was soccer and said, you know, we need to go out and be in this. We
went and got the rights for the World Cup in 2010 and 2014. We went
and did a deal with Major League Soccer. We have had a deal with La
Liga, with English Premier League. We've been really, I think, raising the
profile of the U.S. Men's National Team.
I think the proudest of all what we've done so far was the
World Cup in South Africa where suddenly there -- I think this country sort
of realized what a wonderful sport this is, what a great event that is and
that you kind of need to pay attention. And this year it's bled over into the
Confederations Cup. We're committed to the sport, but the rights in
soccer are as difficult and as diffused as rights to any sport.
I mean right now beIN Sport -- I saw this morning the
gentleman who is in charge of Al Jazeera news -- beIN Sport is Al Jazeera's sports network. They bought La Liga. NBC Sports bought
English Premier League, so that's going to move over there. We have a
World Cup in Brazil next year. The good news is these deals are all short.
The European Leagues -- that'll be 3 years. And we are kind of now
going to turn our attention in this period to Latin soccer.
So we recently sat in the Mexican national team. Like
everybody we're paying attention to the changing demographics of the
country. The single -- when you talk about U.S. Hispanics, 70 percent of
U.S. Hispanics are Mexican Americans. And if you ask them what their
most important sports loyalty is, it's to the Mexican national team. So we
bought the Mexican national team. We begin to try to make some
inroads in that audience.
You still see a lot of soccer. But it is going to be all over the
dial, the soccer in the next few years. I know this gentleman had a
SPEAKER: We live here in Aspen and a lot of our friends are
huge hockey fans, obviously. And often they argue that NBC Sports is --
well, they prefer it over ESPN because it covers more sports that cater to
their interest. So how do you prioritize which sports you want to pursue?
Is it based on which ones bring in the most revenue?
MR. SKIPPER: Well, (inaudible) clearly you have a hierarchy of
what you think is most important and that kind of is NFL, college football,
NBA, Major League Baseball, college basketball, then you kind of get
hockey, golf majors, tennis majors, soccer -- X Games matter to us but we
sort of own that event. So hockey is a very important sport. We'd like to
have hockey. In this case we simply -- NBC bought the rights from the
National Hockey League.
They bought an exclusive deal to do all of hockey. So we tried
very hard but they were paying -- they were paying $60 million. They're
currently paying $185 million a year for hockey in this because they were
bidding against us. So it benefited NHL. We still do the highlights. I
mean, you'll see that we had -- they just had a great Stanley Cup final with
Chicago and Boston. It was all over -- SPEAKER: Depending on what city you're from, right.
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah.
SPEAKER: The Boston wasn't very --
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah. But that was a great final -- oh, you were
there, and they had great games. But you just didn't win. So we care
about hockey. But we don't have the rights. And that is -- I was sort of --
and you got on to me for bragging a little bit so -- because I was all
excited about what we have in the value of live sports. Of course the
other side of that is if we don't have it, we don't have it. That's --
SPEAKER: -- Harris Poll does a survey every year where they
ask people what's your favorite sport. And for the last 20 -- for the last 10
years there've been 20 sports that got at least 1 percentile. So there's -- it's
-- there's a long tale of sports, but you know, ESPN is certainly strongest
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah. Yeah, we -- you do have a unique sports
culture in this country. This is the only country where you have anything
like that many sports. You go anywhere else in the world, they care about
one sport -- overwhelmingly it's soccer. Unless you're in India, they care
about cricket. And this -- you know, they sort of care about a couple of
other things but not much. I mean it's soccer everywhere else in the world.
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. THOMPSON: I think the mic's over there -- following the
MR. SKIPPER: There -- then we'll come up here.
MR. THOMPSON: Following the mic, sorry.
SPEAKER: Hi. I do remember -- just really quickly -- the first website I ever visited was when I was a freshman at Virginia Tech. And
ESPN was the first thing that would always come up. So a long history for
MR. SKIPPER: Thank you very much. You're also a goodlooking young man.
SPEAKER: Thank you, sir. I'm interested in the personalities at
ESPN and how you've been able to transform athletes into personalities,
because it seems like as athletes they're not historically trained for that.
And my guess is that you've had to work with them quite a bit. It's been
great to see you transform a lot of those athletes and their personalities on
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah. It's of course an interesting calculation.
We spend a fair amount of time thinking about who is going to retire and
who will be good on television. It's really hard. There really are not that
many people who really break through. The single greatest guy we don't
have in terms of breaking through as Charles Barkley, right? I mean
actually you could sort of know that given he was kind of a clown in
college and in the NBA as well.
I don't know if you saw -- if you saw the Draft last night, the
NBA Draft? We had Shane Battier on. We had Shane Battier on
because we think he's going to retire before too long and we think he's a
bright guy and an interesting guy. It's interesting because the big stars
often don't make the best guys on television. I mean if you kind of look,
we have Jason Rose (phonetic) on now who I think is actually becoming
quite good on that. Sometimes coaches make really good guys on air.
Jon Gruden is very important for us. But we go through -- we
bring in guys and go through guys who just can't do it. The hardest thing
for them to do, particularly in the first year, is really be candid about the
people they were playing against or coaching against the year before.
And you will find you bring them in, you talk to them, they tell you all
about -- oh, that guy's an idiot, that guy really can't play, none of the other
players like him.Then you get him on the show and you say, hey, how about
that guy. They go, oh, great, great guy, great guy, you know, and you're
kind of stuck. We bringing in this year -- this is a little bit controversial --
we're bringing in Ray Lewis this year into our football. Again, we think
he's going to be charismatic. He really jumps off the screen -- did when he
was playing, but you got to make the calculation of how they're going to
do and how they're going to be. Who do you like? Who do you think
jumps out at you?
SPEAKER: I don't know. I would love to see you guys trying to
get -- (off mic) -- still in the background just hanging out in the farm. I don't
know if he would be good.
MR. SKIPPER: I got to tell you I went down to the farm and
spent a little time with Brett (phonetic). There is a video record of this, isn't
there? I got to deal with it carefully.
MR. THOMPSON: I don't know. But I can see a show just
live from the farm and this gives you the Midwestern sensibility.
MR. SKIPPER: And it was a clear -- well, let me put it this way.
Brett didn't have a whole lot of interest, frankly. Brett's interest is being on
the farm and doing that. It's simple -- you actually really got to want to do
it, right? I mean it's hard work and you got to come to Bristol,
Connecticut, which is not that easy. So -- I know we have a question
MR. THOMPSON: Two minutes left. Last question.
MR. SKIPPER: I'm sorry, I'll answer them quickly.
SPEAKER: I'm a long-suffering Jet fan as well, so I still miss Shea
MR. SKIPPER: Well, who knew.
SPEAKER: So ESPN was a startup. I'm a startup CEO, run
startups. You mentioned the X Games. You guys are creating leagues, you're creating opportunity because the rights are basically all being taken
up or the prices are driven out. Do you see room to create more leagues,
more new ways to bring sport together that way?
MR. SKIPPER: I think it's really hard. I mean the X Games is
really the most successful -- you know, created out of whole cloth, put on
television -- thing we have. We have tried to find leagues -- poker really
was an ESPN invention. And it was all about that camera that allowed
you to see the hole card and suddenly it was sort of interesting. So there's
that. What am I sort of missing, John, in terms of the ESPN really -- we
tried Arena Football League and it didn't really happen. So it's --
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: So, spelling bee, we're doing, which is
wonderful. I mean it's a --
SPEAKER: (Off mic.)
MR. SKIPPER: -- fantasy sports -- ESPN helped drive. There are
a few things -- that Little League Baseball. I mean, the world's -- Little
League World Series now has become a spectacular event. This year I
thought that Men's College Baseball took a fairly significant leap in terms
of what people care about. So we can if we turn attention to it. But
you're asking specifically about sort of creating new things. I think those
SPEAKER: (Off mic) -- and flipping it in a different way.
MR. SKIPPER: Yeah.
SPEAKER: Because it seems like there is a -- there's such a
desire for sportsmanship and games.
MR. SKIPPER: Right.
SPEAKER: And I think that there is even more room to expand
the genre.MR. SKIPPER: Okay. I'll tell you something that works really
great for us is women's college softball. I mean in general we think
women's sports are ascendant. We think that the audiences will get
bigger. People care about their college, so people will watch their
college play. So you'll see us doing more of that. I get more than
anything -- maybe it's because I live in Connecticut and exists mostly in a
socioeconomic world. I get more and more people tell me lacrosse --
lacrosse is coming. I'm telling you, lacrosse is coming if you live in
Connecticut, Upstate New York, Baltimore, and a few -- Denver, by the
way now. But it -- there are lots of sports where they still don't even play
lacrosse and don't know a thing about it. I don't think they're playing any
lacrosse in Texas, for instance, you know. They -- and in Texas if you see
people who look like they're carrying something like this, you better get out
of the way. It's probably not a lacrosse stick.
MR. THOMPSON: We'll end on that probably. Sorry, Texas.
MR. SKIPPER: I'm sorry. Thank you.
* * * * *
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