SBD/April 18, 2014/Finance

Disney Reports Cable Network Unit, Led By ESPN, Will Continue Growth For Three Years

Disney on Thursday indicated that profits at its "ESPN-dominated cable networks unit would grow in the 'high single digits' on a compounded annual basis for the next three years," according to Brooks Barnes of the N.Y. TIMES. It is "rare for Disney to provide public insight into its future earnings," but the company was trying to "squelch smoldering concerns about ESPN’s continued profitability amid rising sports rights costs." ESPN continues to be a "juggernaut, commanding ever-increasing fees from cable providers and raking in" an estimated $3B annually in ad sales. The "not-so-subtle message" on Thursday was that ESPN "will not slow down anytime soon." ESPN President John Skipper said, "No significant shift from our current pre-eminent position in rights can occur in this decade." Barnes notes the net also "took a few pot shots at Fox Sports 1 along the way." ESPN Senior VP/Research & Analytics Artie Bulgrin noted several children have been named "Espn" over the years and said, "Let’s face it. Ain't nobody naming their kid Fox Sports 1" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/18).
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