Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger tackled investor concerns over ESPN during the company’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday, addressing the perception that the pricey sports channel is losing customers. Multichannel News reports that Iger said ESPN’s subscriber losses have abated recently, partly attributable to the channel’s inclusion in “skinny bundles” such as Sling TV.
The article notes that Nielsen initially reported ESPN had lost about 3 million subscribers in 2015, but has since revised its estimate to about 1.2 million. Iger indicated that he’s seeing a turnaround, although it’s not reflected in results for the first quarter, which ended Jan. 2.
Iger is quoted saying during the earnings call: “The subscriber trends that were going in a negative direction have abated somewhat. We believe the predictions that many have made are more dire than they should be.” He added: “The notion that either the expanded basic bundle is experiencing its demise or that ESPN is cratering in any way from a sub persective is just ridiculous.”