In a special New York City Disney Town Hall company meeting on Tuesday -- almost to the day one year ago that he returned to the company -- Bob Iger, chief executive officer of Walt Disney, again downplayed his early comments about possibly selling Disney’s linear TV networks.
Iger said no decisions had been made about the future of the company’s linear TV entertainment businesses. Instead, he talked up possible transitions for Disney TV networks:
“We’re trying to migrate these businesses onto the new business model,” he told ABC News anchor David Muir in an onstage interview. This includes being “more efficient” with those operations.
Initially, Iger's remarks about possibly selling and/or finding strategic partners for its linear TV networks came during a CNBC interview in July.
For the Town Hall meeting, which took place in the New Amsterdam Theater, Iger appeared onstage with company senior executives: Josh D’Amaro, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN; and Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, co-chairs of Disney Entertainment.
Elaborating on Iger’s remarks about the linear TV networks, Walden says the company is considering ways of using linear TV more to complement streaming.
For example, she noted that consumer behavior of linear TV increasingly is part of its streaming platforms. This is where streaming content such as live shows and live sports are watched -- like linear TV -- in specific time periods.
Focusing on ESPN, Pitaro said the big sports cable TV network's move to a full-time streaming service is on track to debut in 2025.
In making this major transition, he added, the company wants to launch the ESPN streaming platform with many new features -- including advanced on-air statistical content and fantasy sports extras all to attract a younger audience.