Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has no interest in offering a la carte options for its various cable channels, even as its subsidiary ESPN gears up to launch more over-the-top services and stream more live sports programming.
In a conference call with analysts, Iger said he felt such a move would devalue the bundle of channels Disney offers as a whole. In contrast, he sees the upcoming ESPN services as a complement to existing ESPN subscriptions that help entice new subscribers. Iger pointed to an over-the-top service designed around the network’s NBA package, saying “it may enhance the enjoyment of the sport but not replace it.”
But ESPN is an outlier for Disney since it brings in so much revenue. While it’s arguable that a la carte viewing options for non-ESPN channels could work, Iger thinks it would ultimately lead to less popular channels disappearing completely. If you cut the cord, you’ll be able to enjoy your standalone HBO, but you’ll need a cable or satellite subscription to keep watching the Disney Channel.