In a recent interview on CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed the company's approach to its TV and cable businesses, stating that they may not be core to the company's operations. Iger expressed a willingness to be "expansive" in considering opportunities for these properties, which include ABC, FX, and National Geographic. He acknowledged that the business model for these businesses is "definitely broken" and that the company would be exploring various options.
Iger also addressed the challenges that Disney faces as it navigates the shift to streaming and mentioned some self-inflicted issues. While cable TV has declined faster than anticipated, Iger expressed optimism about Disney's parks business and the success of its studio business. He highlighted the bright future of streaming and stated that he is extremely optimistic about the company as a whole.
Regarding ESPN, Iger discussed plans to take the sports network direct to consumers, stating that the company is open to partnerships to increase its chances of success. He emphasized Disney's commitment to the sports business, describing it as an advertisers' dream that lends itself to technology.
In relation to Hulu, Iger confirmed that Disney had decided to retain the streaming service, as it would help make Disney's streaming business profitable. However, he acknowledged that there is still work to be done, as subscription growth has softened.
Iger also addressed recent box office disappointments and acknowledged that Disney's focus on growing its streaming business may have contributed to some of these setbacks. He mentioned that the company may have inadvertently trained audiences to skip the theater by releasing new films directly to streaming during the pandemic.
Iger touched on other topics during the interview, including the ongoing labor disputes in the entertainment industry and the criticism Disney has faced from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He described the demands of the writers and actors as "not realistic" given the current industry conditions and expressed concern about the potential damaging effects of a work stoppage. He also refuted claims that politics have impacted Disney's parks business, stating that a recent report on low park traffic was inaccurate and did not consider factors such as high temperatures and increased competition.
Overall, Iger's interview provided insight into Disney's strategy and plans for its various business units as it adapts to the changing media landscape.