Bob Iger Drops Bombshell News, Will Change Disney+ Forever in 2025

in Disney, Movies & TV

Disney+ logo on a blue gradient background.

Credit: Disney+

If you thought that Disney+ would settle down and stop changing things in the next year, CEO Bob Iger is here to make sure that absolutely doesn’t happen.

Bob Iger with Disney+ in the background
Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney+ Streaming Wars

Disney+ is currently struggling on a number of levels. For one, since it was launched to much fanfare in 2019, it has failed to turn a profit for the Walt Disney Company despite having tens of millions of subscribers worldwide. In fact, the streaming service actually loses a massive amount of money for the Mouse every year, which isn’t exactly ideal for the future of the world’s most iconic media company.

It also hasn’t been able to make any money despite raising its subscription price multiple times in the last several years; at this point, the price of an ad-free Disney+ account is double what it was when it first hit the streaming market.

Cara Dune, The Mandalorian, and Greef Karga in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

At the same time that Disney+ has been rapidly increasing in price for consumers, it has been deleting original and legacy content at a rapid pace. The streaming service was introduced to fans as having nearly every single piece of media that Disney had ever produced (give or take a controversial Southern-themed movie) and promised to produce incredible new shows for Marvel Studios and Star Wars.

Related: Disney Changes Streaming Service, Specifically For Taylor Swift

Things haven’t exactly turned out that way. While Disney+ started out strong with WandaVision and The Mandalorian, successive shows have rapidly diminished in quantity, critical acclaim, and viewership. In response, Bob Iger pushed “ad-supported” options on consumers (i.e., watch very lucrative commercials) and added tons of R-rated TV shows and movies to the formerly family-friendly streaming service. It hasn’t been an entirely smooth process.

In short, the streaming wars have not been going well for Disney+, especially compared to its main competitor, Netflix.

Disney CEO Bob Iger smiling over Netflix loading screen
Credit: Inside the Magic

Bob Iger’s Obsession With ESPN

Disney CEO Bob Iger has made it clear that he views streaming media as the future of the company, no matter how unprofitable it may be or how many unpopular options he has to foist on increasingly disgruntled subscribers.

The next one? Forcibly merge ESPN into Disney+ and streaming bundles.

Streaming service synergy: hulu, disney+, and espn+ logos intertwined with colorful dynamic lines against a dark blue background.
Credit: Disney

In a recent interview with CNBC Squawk on the Street, Bob Iger repeatedly referred to the upcoming standalone ESPN+ streaming service as a “flagship” product that would be bundled with Disney+ and Hulu. Much as Hulu has been integrated into Disney+ in a massive swerve from how the streaming service was originally presented, it will once again changed, likely in 2025.

Iger told David Faber, “We are bundling right now with ESPN+, but when he has been ultimately as launched as what we call a flagship product, which is basically the full suite of ESPN services, there will be a great opportunity for a bundle of ESPN with Disney+ and Hulu and a bundle that is very consumer friendly meaning part of.”

Surprisingly, Faber pushed back on Bob Iger’s dream of every single Disney customer being hooked into ESPN, asking why consumers would sign up for ESPN+ if the sports service was already going to be integrated into a huge, potentially monopolistic app with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Bob Iger sitting alongside ESPN and Disney+ logos
Credit: Masterclass/Inside the Magic

Faber asked, ” If I, as a sports consumer, have access to this joint venture. Let’s say I’m paying 45 bucks. Why am I going to spend another 30 on an ESPN over-the-top product? I don’t quite understand what that is for the consumer.”

Bob Iger did not have a direct answer for that, first saying that the ESPN”flagship service will be significantly more than what the ESPN component of the joint venture,” which is tantamount to saying that the new joint app might not actually be worth subscribing to. After all, if you’re not going to get full ESPN features from the new mega-app and have to subscribe to a separate service, what’s the point of it at all?

Related: NFL Rejects New Disney-Fox-Warner Sports Streaming Service

NFL, Disney+, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery logos together
Credit: Inside the Magic

Eventually, the Disney CEO tried to explain the new service, saying:

“Look, ESPN over the top, again, it’s gonna have multiple features to it. There will be fantasy sports, the opportunity to bet on sports basically right off the app. There’ll be significantly more consumer engagement and interaction, interactive capabilities so it’s not the same thing again, what ESPN is trying to do is serve the sports fan in multiple ways.”

If one thing is certain about where Disney is going, it is that Bob Iger is not going to stop changing Disney+ until it manages to stop being a streaming loss, no matter what. Anyone who’s not into ESPN better get used to the idea of sports flooding their apps.

Do you think Disney+ is worth it at this point? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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