Disney’s CEO Bob Iger recently went into great detail about Disney’s plans to reach cord cutters. During their second quarter earnings call Iger talked about everything from their new ESPN streaming service to what they charge for streaming services such as Sling TV.
[T]he inclusion of Disney product, particularly ESPN, on these OTT [over-the-top] services is quite meaningful. Sony certainly had that experience when it launched Sony Vue without ESPN and then it included it later after the launch and it saw its subs [subscribers] increase substantially.
Iger went on to talk about how Disney’s future is not with cable but with cord cutters:
[W]e are really quite neutral in terms of shifting from a traditional MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor] consumer to an over-the-top consumer, meaning the pricing of our networks is similar on the over-the-top networks … [and] … on the MVPD platforms.
Disney even talked about how they plan to monetize streaming:
There are [advertising] opportunities that … will be new to us on the OTT [over-the-top] platforms because some of the technology platforms will offer dynamic ad insertion. That has got some real potential for Disney, and that is a component of the DirecTV Now relationship.
The future of ESPN:
[E]arlier today, we announced a significant investment that provides us the technology infrastructure to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our entire company. We are acquiring a 33% stake in BAMTech, the industry leader in video streaming, data analytics and commerce management. We have the option to acquire majority ownership in the future. And through this investment, we plan to launch a new direct-to-consumer ESPN-branded, multi-sports subscription streaming service.
Disney has long been one of the leaders in reaching out to cord cutters and now seems to be doubling down on their efforts to make Disney-owned content more accessible to cord cutters. Although we do not have a full picture of Disney’s plans we do know they take cord cutting seriously.
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