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ESPN's John Skipper Wants to Add Web TV -- Without Losing Pay TV: The Full Code/Media Interview

Tricky balancing act. How's that going to work?

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Right now you can’t watch ESPN without paying for cable TV, or satellite TV, or telco TV.

But that could change soon: The sports powerhouse has signed on to sell its programming as part of a Web TV service that Dish wants to sell this year. It’s also in discussions with several other services that want to do something similar.

And ESPN is mulling another digital change as well: It is considering selling some sports programming over the Web directly to consumers, just like Netflix does.

These are big moves for the most powerful programmer in pay TV. They are also tricky, because ESPN still plans on making almost all of its money from the pay-TV system — so it wants to try adding digital revenue without upsetting the lucrative business it already has.

How’s that going to work? ESPN President John Skipper sat down with us last week at our Code/Media New York event at the Steelcase WorkLife Center in Manhattan to sketch out his plans, and challenges. He’s a lively interview, and this ended up being a wide-ranging discussion. And now you can watch the whole thing:

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