Disney CEO Bob Iger is not a fan of several new Dish Network bundles that relegate ESPN to add-on sports tiers.
Speaking to analysts during his media company’s second-quarter earnings call this week, Iger questioned the future of a just-announced skinny bundle for Dish’s core satellite service, as well as a recently introduced bundle for the operator’s Sling TV IP-based service.
“That new Sling product is pretty skinny. I was going to say so skinny you can't even see it,” Iger said. “I don't want to suggest that Sling has to have ESPN. They'll determine that. But as we look at the product that they're offering, we really don't believe that it's going to have a great future, because it's lacking some of the most attractive channels that are out there. You can slice and dice some of these channels, but to create packages, if you don't have some of the best ones, it's pretty hard to see significant adoption of the service that's being offered.”
Iger specifically noted Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which struggled to attract subscribers early on after launching without ESPN.
“They had real troubles getting off the ground,” Iger added. “And in Sony's case, when ESPN was added, they had a significant uptick in their subs.”
Last week, Nielsen released data showing that ESPN lost another 2.2 million pay-TV subscribers from February to March.
During Tuesday’s earnings call, Disney confirmed that its cash cow, ESPN, had once again lost pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter, offsetting gains made in advertising and MVPD affiliate fees.
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