Is ESPN the World’s Only True Multimedia Company?

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by Spencer Fatigue

Digital Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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A multimedia company can’t just rely on its online product, even if the buzzwords suggests that’s the only direction the future can — and will — take. A multimedia company has radio. It has print. It was television. And, of course, it has a dominant digital division.

It must break news online first, and then spread it to the proper outlets. It must link all four platforms and set forth its priorities accordingly.

With that said, is ESPN the only such company in the world right now?

CNN is okay, maybe, but they leave a lot to be desired. Their digital strategies come off more like gimmicks than they do actual assets. Enough of the Princess Leia holograms on election night, or John King’s big board for every little tiny Republican delegate hunt.

The Huffington Post is online only. Case closed.

NBC would be a go-to for a lot of people, but their website is atrocious and their hosts often speak of their social media platforms like a French teacher speaks of English. To NBC, the Internet is a fancy shmancy elite box of spew. From Maddow to Matthews, they couldn’t care less about MSNBC.com or any of their own individual sites, even though they’re the only place people watch their shows.

In Canada, it doesn’t get much better. CBC, Global, and CTV all have terrific iPad apps, but their websites don’t exactly preach innovation. Spend some time with any executive from any one of those organizations and you’ll be tempted to ask them if they still have dial-up.

When it comes to Canada’s sports networks, The Score is the only one that can be considered digital-first, but their TV stations have taken such a hit accordingly, they can’t be considered a realistic contender.

(And, they don’t have print. So, suck it.)

ESPN, however, is a behemoth. A lot of people hate them for it, but they’re pulling it off.

Their TV shows and SportsCentre are still the world’s most famous. They have podcasts and radio stations that spread to each metropolitan area of the United States. They have website for every category of sports and media, including specialty sites like Grantland and ESPN W (Women). ESPN has a magazine and they’re ahead of every other news organization on any of their topics.

They were the first place you went to during the Penn State saga, and they’re the first place you’d trust to have live scores updated up to the minute.

So, yes: ESPN is the world’s only true multimedia news company.

If you have a better idea, let me know…