Disney is reaching out to cord cutters
Disney is one of the strongest supporters of cord cutting and they have been for some time now. Their WatchABC app has been a valuable example to other networks on how to reach cord cutters. Also, Disney was one of the earliest networks to sign up with live streaming services like Sling TV. Now, it seems that Disney has even bigger plans for cord cutters.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, recently went into great detail about Disney’s plans to reach cord cutters during their second quarter earnings call (a conference call in which a public company discusses the financial results of a reporting period). Iger talked about everything from their new ESPN streaming service to what they charge for streaming services such as Sling TV.
Iger explained the value of Disney to cord-cutting services such as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue:
“The 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 explain Disney’s pricing will be similar for either method of distribution:
“We 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 with new technology platforms offering dynamic ad insertion.
The future of ESPN
Disney has been one of the major leaders in reaching out to cord cutters. Now they seem to be increasing their efforts to make Disney-owned content more accessible to cord cutters as well. Although we do not have a full picture of Disney’s plans, we do know they take streaming technology and cord cutting seriously.
“Earlier 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 said.
What does this mean for cord cutters?
Disney has long been a trendsetter in entertainment. From movies to TV, Disney is one of the companies that others follow. Having Disney double down on the availability of cord cutting content is something that will likely set a trend with other networks.
As major networks like ABC, ESPN, Freeform (formally ABC Family) and the Disney family of channels all become more cord cutter friendly, they put pressure on other networks to compete. A great example of this is Disney’s early support of Sling TV. Only after seeing Disney’s success with Sling TV did other networks move to join in.
While these are still baby steps toward cord-cutting by networks, the steps are coming more quickly and more often. In a few years, TV will be in a very different place than it is today.