Ad-free services from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime are seemingly impressing Disney CEO Bob Iger, who has said he believes there are too many commercial interruptions on TV.
Iger added that he and his team were looking at reducing the number of adverts carried by Disney-owned sports channel ESPN and national network ABC. “I think in today’s world we have to be mindful of the number of commercial interruptions,” he said.
ESPN, in particular, has suffered this past year or two from falling audience subscribers (down 9 million overall since 2013) but Iger said was now trending better and helped by OTT streaming options from Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Sony’s Vue services.
Talking on CNBC, he added: “I think there’s way too much pessimism about ESPN because ESPN is still in demand from three constituents you want to be in demand the most from. One, distributors. Two, consumers and three, advertisers. And the reason it’s in demand is the brand is still strong, the product is still good and we’ve invested nicely to keep that product as high quality as possible.”
Iger also praised the emergence of these OTT digital services, saying: “We believe that [digital TV services] are going to occupy a good part of the future. It’s less expensive, easier to use, more mobile friendly.”