ESPN: Still Disney’s Crown Jewel?

On KCRW’s The Business podcast, Kim Masters and Matt Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, discuss the recent layoffs that occurred at ESPN, which amounted to nearly one hundred names, some of which being prominent commentators, being let go. This obviously left some fans upset; however, this is worth discussing as the cable division has been Disney’s most profitable area for years with Masters and Belloni both saying that ESPN is Disney’s crown jewel. Unfortunately, even though ESPN is still extremely profitable and brings in a huge amount of revenue for the company, they are not unaffected by the current trend of cable cutters. With millions of people either choosing to slim down on their choice of channels or get rid of their cable plans all together, Disney and ESPN were finally forced to act and had to make cuts. Though there has been talks about more cuts coming, both Belloni and Masters believe that the one hundred individuals was ESPN’s attempt to “rip the bandaid off” and that this will be all of the lay offs for some time. The other important consideration is how this could affect Disney’s other divisions like film, which is their third largest after cable and theme parks. Clearly, Disney has a wide range of source of revenue, but hopefully the trend of cable cutters will not continue to a point where it affects a large source of revenue for the company.

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3D Screenings Increase Earnings

It is no secret that many filmmakers and moviegoers see 3D as a gimmick designed to trick customers into paying more; however, whether or not you believe this is why studios push major blockbusters towards 3D, it is not a secret that it absolutely helps boost the earnings for major theaters. In a recent article from The Hollywood Reporter, Ethan Vlessing took a look at the earnings reports from Canada’s Cineplex and found that  one of the major driving forces for the recent boost in earnings were record sales for premium tickets, as well as concession sales. The article continues saying that tentpole movies like Star Wars: Rogue OneThe Lego Batman Movie, and Beauty and the Beast all had a substantial number of 3D sales. Cineplex saw the potential for this money making opportunity several years ago and converted a majority of their chain to where it was 3D capable, which seems to have paid off as it is now a significant driving force for their business. While the major franchise films helped get audiences to the theaters, Cineplex’s earnings reports also showed that individuals weren’t only willing to pay for the up charge for 3D as the company saw a five percent increase in concession sales. So while many might feel that 3D is a gimmick, Cineplex’s success at maintaining customer’s despite increased 3D tickets means that 3D is thriving and likely won’t go anywhere anytime soon.