Hulu CEO Predicts the End of Most Linear Cable TV Channels

At Business Insider‘s IGNITION conference in New York City, Hulu chief executive Randy Freer predicted that, 10 years from now, out of 300+ current cable channels, the only ones that will survive are those that have built a brand with a strong viewer base. He added that, with the exception of live news and sports, everything else on TV will be distributed on-demand. Hulu, which offers live streaming TV with 55+ channels and several Discovery linear channels, is considering less expensive skinny bundles without linear channels. Continue reading Hulu CEO Predicts the End of Most Linear Cable TV Channels

Disney Readies Launch of New Subscription Streaming Service

The Walt Disney Company reported a record profit of $12.6 billion for its fiscal year, due to its hit movies, increased attendance at theme parks and a stabilized ESPN. Now the company is getting ready to introduce a new subscription streaming service that is similar to Netflix. While the rewards of the direct-to-consumer offering are potentially significant, launching such a service will entail expenses in content, technology and marketing. Disney chief executive Bob Iger recently revealed the new service’s name: Disney+. Continue reading Disney Readies Launch of New Subscription Streaming Service

NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman formed NewTV to offer short original programming designed for smartphones. They believe they’re creating the next-generation HBO or Netflix, and many big players in Hollywood are betting they’re right. Katzenberg said that the holding company he co-founded, WndrCo, closed a $1 billion seed-funding round on July 31. Other backers include Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV and Entertainment One. Continue reading NewTV Plans to Bring Hollywood’s A-Game to Mobile Video

Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

The Walt Disney Company has revealed some of the details regarding its upcoming streaming service, slated for launch in the second half of 2019. Debuting on the new service will be television series based on “Star Wars,” “Monsters Inc.,” “High School Musical” and Marvel, currently under development. Disney chief executive Bob Iger also disclosed that the service will be priced substantially less than Netflix, in part because it will have less content at its introduction. However, Iger noted that the price could increase as Disney adds more content. Continue reading Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

In a significant departure from its traditional business model, Disney announced it plans to pull its movies from Netflix and roll out two of its own online streaming services. Early next year the company will introduce an ESPN streaming service that is expected to cover 10,000 events each year, including MLB, NHL and MLS content. The company also plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming platform in 2019 that will offer its movies and TV programming as well as original content exclusive to the service. Following the news, Netflix stock dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

The VOID, IMAX Pioneer Successful Virtual Reality Experiences

The VOID, a VR startup newly headed by former Lucasfilm manager Cliff Plumer, is earning accolades as an experience that could jump-start mass acceptance of the new entertainment medium. For The VOID, the user dons an untethered VR headset, a vest outfitted with haptic sensors and small backpack, picks up a plastic gun, and enters interconnected rooms to play a 10-minute “Ghostbusters” adventure zapping apparitions. The first IMAX VR Experience Centre also recently opened in Los Angeles, with more to come. Continue reading The VOID, IMAX Pioneer Successful Virtual Reality Experiences

Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Following the CNBC report that Google and Salesforce.com were among those being considered for a Twitter takeover, TechCrunch added that Microsoft and Verizon have also expressed interest. Today, headlines indicate that Disney is considering a possible bid. Bloomberg reports that Disney is working with an adviser on a potential deal, in what would be the company’s latest investment in a string of tech-related media businesses including Hulu, Vice and MLB’s BAMTech. The Wall Street Journal suggests that “a Twitter acquisition would be Disney’s biggest technology deal yet” and “could benefit ESPN as cord-cutting becomes more widespread.” Continue reading Disney Said to Be Considering Possible Bid for Twitter Merger

Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

The Walt Disney Company just invested $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, Major League Baseball’s streaming division, with an option to buy “a controlling interest” in the future. BAMTech, which also handles streaming for HBO among other media entities, will be Disney’s partner in creating an ESPN subscription streaming service that will most likely debut by the end of the year, according to Disney chief executive Bob Iger, and offer baseball, hockey, tennis, cricket and college sports. Continue reading Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

In the wake of pay TV subscriber losses and a falloff in content stocks, industry news has recently focused on the impact of the Internet, mobile apps and streaming services on traditional television. Disney chief operating officer Tom Staggs, who most analysts believe will be the successor to CEO Bob Iger, defended the future of ESPN and the programming bundle at an industry conference in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Staggs also suggested that Wall Street had overreacted to recent changes in the business and should not be so quick to dismiss the current model. Continue reading Disney COO Defends the Programming Bundle as TV Evolves

Bob Iger Named to Apple Board, Arthur Levinson to Serve as Chairman

  • Apple has named Disney chief exec Robert Iger to its board, while Arthur Levinson will take over the chairman post previously held by Steve Jobs.
  • Bob Iger was a friend and business partner of Jobs. The two worked together when Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios in 2006.
  • Levinson, chairman of biotech company Genentech, has been co-director of the Apple board for six years.
  • “They’re trying to shore up the Disney relationship or strengthen that relationship because it’s an important part of where Apple is going,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos, referring to the possibility of a future Apple television and its need for licensing deals. “The content piece is the critical key to the living room,” Munster added.
  • “He is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said of Iger, commenting that Iger’s role at Disney in harnessing new technology makes him “a great fit for Apple.”

Disney in Discussions to Provide TV Everywhere-Type Authentication

  • Similar to the approach Fox announced last month, Disney is negotiating TV Anywhere deals for ABC-TV shows with distributors. Access would require authentication with a cable ID.
  • Fox provides next day access to viewers who log in with cable IDs, and makes others wait for eight days to view content on Fox.com or Hulu.
  • Disney already has deals with Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS to access ESPN content using a mobile app.
  • “Our overall approach…has been to make deals that increase revenue while at the same time protect and respect the channel distribution value that we see today,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said. The company is looking to build authentication into future deals, which Iger explains would “allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window if the customer is a multichannel subscriber.”