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SBD/August 7, 2013/Finance
ESPN's Affiliate Fees, Ad Revenue Lift Disney's Q3 Earnings Ahead Of Expectations
Published August 7, 2013
IGER ON ESPN: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Jon Lafayette noted Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger "discussed ESPN's result after a quarter in which its ratings fell 30%." Iger said, "We remain confident in ESPN's value and its position as the Number One brand in sports over the long-term." Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said that ESPN's cash ad sales were "up 9% in the quarter, but its reported ad revenue was up only 3%, because 'the increase in cash ad sales was partially offset by lower ratings.'" Those ratings "were mainly due to fewer NBA regular season games and lower ratings for NBA playoff games than a year ago." Rasulo said that ESPN's cash ad sales so far in Q4 "are pacing up 11%." Iger said that ESPN had a "strong upfront, in terms of price increases and overall revenue." He added the nets "did not detect any impact whatsoever for any new competitive forces, including Fox Sports 1." Iger noted that as football season approaches, ESPN has "new advertising opportunities on its Watch ESPN app, which is sold separately from the linear networks." Iger: "Those sales are relatively small, in the tens of millions at this point, but we believe they will continue to grow" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 8/6). Iger indicated that he "expects ESPN to renew its deal to carry NBA games as the current agreement runs through the 2015-16 season, but negotiations may begin well in advance." Iger added that while the league is "crucial to ESPN, it also offers an 'important platform' for the NBA" (MEDIAPOST.com, 8/6).