Family Watching TV At Night Sitting On Sofa Together

Disney Has Big Plans to Become More Cord Cutting Friendly

Family Watching TV At Night Sitting On Sofa TogetherDisney’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.

Iger first went into detail about their current deals with services such as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue:

[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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  • Norman

    This is going start by sounding off topic, but…

    In recently cutting the cord, I gave up access to NESN (New England Sports Network), home of the Boston Red Sox (my team). I no longer can watch a game nearly every day, if I choose to; and since I’m within their home territory, MLB network blacks out the games, so they’re a waste. As long as the team does well, I can see a nationally televised game once every 2 or 3 weeks. I’m okay with this as this was my OTT choice. The pluses outweighed the minuses for me.

    The question is how do sites like NESN and MLB expect to develop a younger audience, if they don’t start embracing the technology the younger audience is gravitating towards? And what about the NFL? So far, as far as I understand, only the NHL provides access to home teams in home regions OTT. Even Comcast has expressed a commitment to a premium and/or cable experience, and a take-it-or-leave-it sort of attitude towards OTT. Seems fine as far as their cable business, but how does that advance NBCUniversal with the tech evolving younger audience, or in my case, cheap bastards. It seems Disney understands the business wisdom of this OTT outreach. It seems a simple and prudent idea unless you’re looking to age yourself out of existence. I hope the others will soon get their feet out of the mud and start responding to the future, but if not, then so be it. I like the freedom and flexibility and economy I have with OTT, even though we (the OTT community) still don’t have full al a carte options. I’m also suprised to be patting Disney on the back, as they were one of my biggest cable complaints. For years and years we paid for a slew of Disney offerings we never ever watched. Still paying for some I don’t watch in the skinny bundle I have, though at least it’s less; but as far as Disney is concerned, getting yourself out there in any way possible, to as many as possible, seems like a sound business to me.

  • bjwanlund

    This is a serious sore spot for me: Disney really HAS to do better by their customers. They HAVE to make their older programming more available for old farts like me who remember stuff like Mousercise and Dumbo’s Circus. Maybe I’m strange, but this is at least a positive development. At least they’re thinking about a market that will be a huge growth potential for them down the road.

  • Good to see a huge company making a push for this. A lot are already transitioning to cord-cutting for all the great reasons.. this should help ease things a bit for future cord-cutters.