SBD/August 15, 2017/Media

Experts Weigh In On Disney's Purchase Of BAMTech Majority Stake, How It Affects ESPN

When Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger last week announced that the company poured another $1.58B into owning 75% of BAMTech, it was "clear that he saw that acquisition as the key to salvaging ESPN's cord-cutting problem, but some experts see it differently," according to Sara Fischer of AXIOS. BAMTech "powers some of the biggest OTT streaming services," including those for MLB, HBO and WWE. Iger "hopes it will give Disney access to a data-based platform that will transform the way it can sell ads, service content and connect with consumers." Fischer: "Will it be enough to save ESPN, which has lost 12% of its subscriber [base] in six years?" Top industry analysts have "mixed opinions." Moody’s Investors Service Senior VP Neil Begley said that getting control of BAMTech will "keep ESPN's digital strategy flexible enough to meet consumer demands." But Jackdaw Research Chief Analyst Jan Dawson said that it could "do more damage than good" if ESPN's content strategy "doesn't reflect the new platform." BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield: "While Disney management has tried to position the BAMTech deal as a savvy technology move, we actually see it as ESPN further increasing its investment in sports rights" (, 8/15).
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