In an interview with CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger laid out his comprehensive plan to reshape the company's direction during his extended contract term, signalling a willingness to make substantial changes. Iger's strategy includes exploring the possibility of selling a portion of ESPN to a strategic partner, divesting or spinning off other linear TV networks like ABC and FX, acquiring the remaining equity of Hulu, and scaling back on movie production efforts.
As part of its cost-cutting measures, Disney is currently in the process of eliminating 7,000 jobs, equivalent to approximately 3% of its global workforce. This downsizing initiative has affected ESPN as well, as the network faces the repercussions of a significant decline in subscribers. Since 2011, nearly 28 million linear subscribers have abandoned ESPN, largely due to the increasing trend of cord-cutting among consumers. Disney's media business in India is also under scrutiny as the company grapples with these challenges.
Acknowledging the obstacles ahead, Iger stated, "The company is facing a lot of challenges, some of them self-inflicted. We've gotten a lot done very quickly, significant cost reductions, and significant realignment of the company. But we're dealing head-on with some of our biggest challenges."
While Iger remains optimistic about the future of sports, citing their dominance in U.S. television ratings across all genres, he emphasised the need for discipline even in that sector. With a fresh perspective and a long-term vision, the Disney CEO is determined to navigate the company through these transformative times.