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.”

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