In the company’s fiscal Q3 call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he sees a strong environment for raising subscription fees for its networks, which include ESPN. He’s also planning a future revenue stream embedding ads into Disney’s new iPad apps, which the company hopes aims to debut this fall.
CNBC spoke with Iger. Here are some excerpts:
His outlook is also upbeat for the company’s biggest division, the media networks. He sees a “relatively strong environment for raising subscription fees for the channels we have.” Though he’s bullish about advertising across the cable networks—Disney Channel and ESPN in particular—and more cautious about ABC. Noting that ABC had some “ratings issues,” he called ABC’s upfront ad sales period “relatively decent.” ABC sold about 80% of its ad inventory and continued to sell ads even after the typical Upfront sales period ended, he said.
Iger also discussed a future revenue stream—advertising embedded into its new iPad apps—which the company hopes to roll out this fall. He described the rollout of apps that give Comcast subscribers access to live and on-demand content as a success, saying that they’re in negotiations with other cable and satellite TV companies to include access to such apps. The new ad format, which Disney would embed into those apps, would be an additional, incremental revenue.
RBR-TVBR observation: We certainly see no problems with adding embedded ads to their apps, why not? But ESPN has already gotten a huge backlash for raising fees with MSOs. Perhaps Disney Channel should instead offer advertising or increased sponsorship tie-ins.