Esquire Network leaves the cable television business.
NBCUniversal announced that the network, a partnership between Comcast Corp.
and Hearst Magazines, will become a digital-only presence this spring. The channel was launched in September 2013.
The move comes at a difficult time for the cable industry, as more and more young viewers are cutting or “shaving” the cable cord in favor of streaming services. Esquire Network targeted an upscale male audience who prefer to watch newer programming than traditional television, NBCUniversal said.
NBCUniversal is one of many large media companies that has so-called “long-tail” cable networks with small audiences. Maintaining distribution of these channels by major cable and satellite providers is becoming increasingly difficult, especially as consumers turn to skinny cable bundles and online services.
Industry watchers have speculated that the TV giants may be looking to shed some of their smaller channels or turn them into digital media companies.
NBCUniversal announced that it will launch a direct-to-consumer product that will allow viewers to watch Esquire Network programs such as “Car Matchmaker” and “Brew Dogs” through the Esquire.com site.
“We are grateful to the team that has contributed to Esquire’s many successes to date, and this new strategy prepares us for the future,” Adam Stotsky, president of E! Entertainment and Esquire Network, said in a statement.
Write to Steven Perlberg at [email protected]
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