Disney's Bob Iger bullish on strength of ESPN+

Disney CEO Bob Iger praised ESPN’s ratings and push into streaming at Morgan Stanley’s annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, saying its 25 million ESPN+ subscribers is “nothing to sneeze at,” according to Oliver Darcy of CNN.com. Iger said, “When you combine the strength of live sports and the brand and the value of advertising, you can create a business that’s not just subscriber dependent, but dependent on advertising and subscriber revenue. I think there’s a reason to be bullish.” He added, “It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be open-minded about its future, but right now, we’re bullish about it” (CNN.com, 3/9).

PUTTING THE CHIPS IN: In L.A., Meg James noted Disney is “taking a hard look at whether it should hold on to its general entertainment service, Hulu, and even” ESPN. Rising sports-rights fees and dwindling cable TV subscriptions have “made ESPN less profitable.” Iger has said “everything is on the table” with regard to Hulu. But also that there are “no conversations about selling or spinning off ESPN” (L.A. TIMES, 3/9).