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  • 02.07.17

Disney’s earnings show more trouble for ESPN and the cable bundle as we know it

The Walt Disney Company reported first-quarter earnings this afternoon, and the news isn’t good. Revenue declined at all but one of its four business units, with its all-important cable-TV business showing more vulnerability to the forces of cord-cutting and streaming video. The segment’s operating income fell 11%, which Disney attributed in part to lower ad dollars at ESPN—the crown jewel of its TV empire. Losses were somewhat offset by higher affiliate fee revenue, but those fees are already the highest in the industry by far. Something has to give.

 CZ