It’s no secret that the cable TV industry is facing more pressure from shifts in viewing habits, but Disney chief Bob Iger has done his best to remain optimistic. In an earnings call this week, he once again tried to put a positive spin on subscription declines at ESPN. “We are certainly well aware of the attention paid to ESPN, and we’re pleased with our implementation of strategies aimed at further strengthening ESPN’s position,” he said.
Count Rich Greenfield among those who aren’t buying it. In a blog post yesterday, the BTIG analyst wrote that Iger “remains in denial” about ESPN’s viability in a post-bundle world, and he noted that the Disney CEO has discussed the sports network with “increasing brevity” during the last seven earnings calls. “Iger has continued to try to convince investors that no matter how technology impacts the media landscape, ESPN will be just fine,” Greenfield wrote.
He added that troubles at ESPN—the crown jewel in Disney’s TV empire—remain the biggest concern for Disney investors.