Disney CEO Bob Iger believes that ESPN will move towards standalone service like HBO Now, were cord cutting consumers can just buy the channels they want.
“I think eventually ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumer. I think there’s an inevitably to that, but I don’t think it’s right around the corner,” said Iger on CNBC’s financial morning show “Squawk Box.”
This will be a very interesting concept to see unfold. ESPN would be one of the few standalone services with live broadcasts like the NFL and the College Football Playoff. These events have huge ratings and advertisers pony up big dollars for events where the consumer can’t fast forward through the commercials.
“I have very bullish feelings about ESPN long-term, but I’m a realist in terms of the disruptions of the business. I happen to believe that if we end up seeing more erosion in terms of the so-called multi-channel bundle, quality will win out and popularity will win out,” Iger said. “The business model may face some challenges over the next few years. I think long-term for ESPN because of the strength of its brand… they’ll be fine.”