Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted that the company may be looking to sell some of its traditional TV assets, such as ABC and FX, as the media giant shifts its focus to streaming and digital platforms, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Bob Iger, who returned to the top job in November after a brief stint by Bob Chapek, spoke to CNBC on Thursday at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. He said he was evaluating the company’s TV business, which has been hit hard by the disruption of the linear model and the rise of cord-cutting.
“They may not be core to Disney,” Iger said of the TV networks, adding that he was “expansive” in his thinking about their future.
Iger said he was open to “strategic partnerships” that would help the company transition to direct-to-consumer offerings, especially for ESPN, which he said was still part of the Disney family. Disney owns 80% of ESPN, while Hearst Communications owns the rest.
However, he did not rule out selling some of the TV assets, which include the ABC broadcast network and its local stations, as well as cable channels like FX and National Geographic.
“The distribution model, the business model that forms the underpinning of that business and that is delivered great profits over the years is definitely broken. And we have to call it like it is,” Iger said.
Iger, who extended his contract by two years through 2026, said he came back to lead Disney through a challenging period, as the company faces competition from rivals like Netflix and Amazon.
He said he was proud of the success of Disney’s streaming services, such as Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, which have amassed over 170 million subscribers combined.
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