Disney’s potential sale of ABC, other networks sends shockwaves

LOS ANGELES: In a move that has sent ripples through the media world, Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted at the possibility of the company selling off its linear TV networks, including ABC. The revelation came during a CNBC interview, where Iger suggested that these networks might not be core to Disney’s future.

Iger, who recently agreed to a two-year contract extension to remain at the helm of Disney until 2026, spoke of the “transformative” work he aims to undertake before passing on the baton. This includes addressing the challenges faced by the company’s linear business, which he believes will continue to struggle.

The CEO clarified that ESPN, which he views “very differently”, would not be part of this potential sell-off. However, he strongly suggested that networks such as ABC, FX, and National Geographic could be on the chopping block.

This news comes on the heels of a prediction by Wells Fargo analysts that Disney would part ways with ESPN and ABC as part of a strategic shift towards content and cost rationalisation. They forecasted this spin-off to occur in late 2023, transforming Disney into a pure play intellectual property company.

Iger’s comments also underscore the challenges faced by traditional linear TV networks in the face of disruptive forces and the rise of streaming platforms. He acknowledged that the distribution model for these networks is “definitely broken” and that the company must confront this reality.

Despite the potential sale of these networks, Iger remains “bullish” on sports and expressed Disney’s interest in seeking strategic partners to assist with distribution and content, particularly in relation to expensive licensing deals for live sports.

The media industry and business insiders were taken aback by Iger’s comments, sparking a flurry of discussions on social media about the implications of such a move. This development marks a significant shift in Disney’s strategy and could have far-reaching effects on the media landscape. –Multiple Sources

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