The Walt Disney Company Stories July 27, 2015

ESPN could be offered as standalone channel on Apple TV, says Disney CEO – but don’t hold your breath

Disney could respond to the increase trend toward cord-cutting by offering direct consumer access to ESPN, says Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. This could potentially make it available as a standalone channel on Apple TV, rather than something you can only get if you subscribe to a cable package that includes it.

But don’t rush out to cancel your cable subscription just yet – Iger, who is also on Apple’s board, said in a CNBC interview that the move won’t happen in the next five years. He was responding to questions about the future of the channel in an increasingly difficult market for cable. Enterprise recently reported that the channel lost more than three million viewers in the last year.

Sports network ESPN, meanwhile, reportedly lost 3.2 million viewers over the last year as a growing number of pay-TV customers either cut the cord or sought so-called skinny packages that didn’t include the industry’s most expensive channel. ESPN accounts for about $6 of most cable bills.

Iger said that the company viewed technology as friend rather than foe, and would adapt as the industry changed.

“While the business model may face challenges over the next few years, long term for ESPN … they’ll be fine. They have pricing leverage, too,” Iger said. “Disney [Channel] is another … brand and product that could be sold directly to the customer.”

But with that five year caveat, don’t expect to find ESPN offered as a standalone service like HBO or Showtime, and possibly not even as part of the streaming TV service Apple is expected to launch in the fall.

The Walt Disney Company Stories December 29, 2014

A Fortune interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger, featured on the magazine’s cover (seen below) today, makes much of the importance of Iger’s relationship with Steve Jobs.

Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram writes: “If there is one particular relationship that has most shaped [Bob Iger’s] thinking, it’s the six-year friendship he had with another CEO: the late Steve Jobs […]

Ed Catumull, Disney’s animation president, says of the Iger/Jobs relationship: “Steve recognized that in Bob he actually had a partner. In the subsequent years they thought of each other as true partners. That’s what he wanted, and that’s not what he had previously.”

The mutual respect the pair felt for each other was reflected in the fact that Jobs, before his death, asked that Iger be invited to take his place on the Apple board …  expand full story

The Walt Disney Company Stories December 22, 2014

Following in the footsteps of the Disney Stores, Walt Disney World will be accepting Apple Pay from 24th December, reports the company.

Initially, most stores, quick service restaurants, bars and ticket sales booths will be included. Any locations that use portable payment terminals, such as table service restaurants, will be added later.

To identify payment locations that accept Apple Pay and contactless payments, look for the EMVCo symbol, which is a series of curved lines, similar to a WiFi signal strength meter on many devices.

Disney was an Apple Pay launch partner, installing upgraded iBeacons and NFC readers in its retail stores prior to the launch of the service, but contactless payment had previously only been available at WDW via the company’s own MagicBands wristbands …  expand full story

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The Walt Disney Company Stories November 27, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer will hit iTunes trailer site tomorrow [Update: online]

[tweet https://twitter.com/starwars/status/537726713753382913]

Lucasfim is such a tease. After initially saying that the trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens would be shown only in 30 movie theatres, the Disney-owned studio has now tweeted that it will also be shown on the iTunes trailers site tomorrow.

You’ll get your chance to see how the stars of the original 1977 film are holding up when they are reunited in the latest in the film series.

Update: Here’s the link, and it’s now on YouTube too:

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