Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney told CNBC that ESPN could eventually be sold direct to consumers in the same way as HBO but it wouldn’t happen in the next five years.
Iger said ESPN could at some point bypass distributors but said that ESPN would look for much deeper penetration into the marketplace.
“Five years out, I don’t think you see significant change….I think eventually ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumers, where there is an engagement in that ESPN will know who their consumers are, will use that info to customize their product, enable personalization to essentially engage in a much more effective way and also to offer advertisers more value as well. That’s longer term. I think there is an inevitability to that, but I don’t think it is right around the corner.”
“Disney [Channel] is another brand and product that could be sold directly to the customer,” Iger confirmed.