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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