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Bob Iger Backtracks, Says Disney Will Keep TV Channels

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bob Iger Backtracks, Says Disney Will Keep TV Channels

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Disney CEO Bob Iger backtracked from previous comments, now saying that the company will keep TV channels like ABC, FX and ESPN.  

The executive, who returned to run Disney a year ago following the dismissal of his successor, Bob Chapek, had floated the idea of a sale in July. In an interview with CNBC, Iger said such channels may no longer be essential to the company,” Bloomberg reported.  

CNBC reported in July that “Disney is going to be ‘expansive’ in its thinking about the traditional TV business, leaving the door open to a possible sale of the networks. ‘They may not be core to Disney,’ Iger said, adding the creativity that has come from those networks has been key for Disney.” 

The CEO now says that the company will keep the channels.  

The entertainment giant almost sold the channels because traditional TV is estimated to have a limited future, and Disney, which has had a rocky year, could use the funds from the sale.  

Iger said on Wednesday, “My thought at the time was that I would be public with that thought process, and I went as far as saying they might not be core to the company. I did not want to be accused of being an old media executive.” 

Now, different perspectives about the future of traditional TV have emerged. 

Fortune reported,Disney received interest in the channels from Nexstar Media Group Inc. and an offer from businessman Byron Allen. At an employee event on Tuesday, however, TV chief Dana Walden said that networks like ABC and the Hulu streaming service can work together to create a wider audience.” 

Successful mergers, as Walden suggests, would make the assets worth keeping.  

Movieguide® recently reported Iger’s comments on Disney’s future: 

“As I reflect on our achievement this past year, I’m mindful of the fact that a lot of time and effort was spent on fixing, both contending with certain decisions made in the recent past, and addressing the numerous challenges brought on by disruption and the pandemic,” Iger said during the earnings call. “And while we still have work to do to continue improving results, our progress has allowed us to move beyond this period of fixing and begin building our business again.” 

Iger also reiterated his belief in the company’s existing IPs and stated that he intends to continue to focus the business on them. 

“We are focusing heavily on the core brands and franchises that fuel all of our core businesses and reduce output overall, to enable us to concentrate on fewer and improve quality while continuing our efforts around the creation of fresh and compelling original IP,” he said.

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