Disney Will Face ‘Biggest Decision Yet’ According to One Expert

in Disney, Television

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Credit: ESPN

According to one Wall Street bank analyst, The Walt Disney Company is about to face one of its most significant decisions ever as it tries to determine the future of one of its most popular franchises.

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Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: Wall Street Predicts Disney Will Make Major Moves on Streaming Platforms in 2023

Recently, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal that Disney was “actively preparing” for a future in which it would offer the flagship ESPN service as a stand-alone streaming service.

For those who were unaware, in 1996, The Walt Disney Company bought Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion, making ESPN a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Under Disney’s ownership, ESPN expanded its reach and influence, launching new channels such as ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, and ESPN Deportes. It also acquired rights to broadcast major sports events such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, and the FIFA World Cup. It also developed new media platforms such as ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN The Magazine, and ESPN Mobile. In addition, it created original programming such as documentaries, films, and series.

Today, ESPN is the world’s leading sports media company, reaching over 200 countries and territories across multiple platforms. It is also one of Disney’s most valuable assets, generating billions of dollars in revenue and profit. The relationship between ESPN and Disney is mutually beneficial, as they leverage each other’s strengths and resources to create compelling content and experiences for sports fans worldwide.

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Credit: ESPN+

Related: Walt Disney World Announces Lineup For 2023 ESPN College Basketball Invitational

In response to the recent developments regarding ESPN, Macquarie’s Tim Nollen downgraded Disney to neutral from outperform Friday, stating in his memo to clients that Disney faces a tricky balance as it tries to set up ESPN for the new reality of media. He would go on to say, “Doing so is inevitable, and it’s hard to see how it will be smooth: steep losses assumed in the pay-TV bundle will have to be offset by strong subscriber sign-ups at a presumed high price, and before Disney even gets there it has to negotiate terms with pay-TV operators on content, and with the leagues on costs for streaming rights.”

In addition, he would also boldly state in his publication that this is “perhaps its (The Walt Disney Company’s) biggest decision to date.”

Disney currently offers its ESPN+ streaming service, but that doesn’t include access to the flagship programming that airs through the traditional cable channel.

Are you happy that Disney is preparing to offer ESPN’s flagship program directly without a cable subscription?  

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