When execs speak

Disney’s Bob Iger: Inevitable that ESPN Goes Direct-to-Consumer:

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger said on CNBC Monday morning that “there’s an inevitability” to ESPN peeling itself away from the traditional pay TV bundle.

“I think eventually ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumers,” Mr. Iger said.

ESPN, which is majority-owned by Disney, could use information from that direct consumer relationship to customize its product and enable more personalization, which will engage fans in a “much more effective way,” he said.

Mr. Iger cautioned that such an offering is not “right around the corner”; even five years down the line, he believes there won’t have been “significant change” in the pay TV business.

I’ve sold photographs to ESPN and I’ve worked on some of their affiliate stations and I’ve done some reporting for one of their subsidiary concerns. My mentor worked for a good long while in Bristol.

None of this gives me any special insight, but this is a certainty: Say what you will about ESPN, but they are unafraid to experiment. So when you see a man like Bob Iger speaking this way in an open forum, your mind should race with possibilities.


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