retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on how while Disney had a 28 percent increase in its most recent quarterly profit, CEO Robert Iger this week found himself on an investors conference call defending the company's ESPN cable networks. The story notes that "Disney has been dogged by concerns about the long-term health of its cable television holdings, which have historically provided the bulk of its annual profit. Mr. Iger has repeatedly rejected the notion, put forward by a few analysts, that ESPN is particularly at risk as some consumers forgo a traditional cable subscription.

"On Tuesday’s call, Mr. Iger again emphasized the strength of ESPN, noting that in recent weeks the sports behemoth had achieved an increase in subscribers, in part from new, slimmed-down cable and satellite services like Sling TV that are popular with younger consumers."
KC's View:
This is an interesting story to follow, since it is yet another example of how traditional businesses can be disrupted by new technologies. It wasn't that long ago that the idea of major sporting events appearing on cable networks was deemed revolutionary because it appeared to disenfranchise people who don't have cable; now, not only does ESPN carry major events, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion that at some point sports events will be available on services like Netflix and Amazon.

It would seem that ESPN (and probably its brethren) is being hurt both my evolving technology and by high licensing fees ... it is getting squeezed from both sides. This is the kind of thing that every business has to worry about ... finding themselves in circumstances in which their relevance is being squeezed out of existence.

The irony, of course, is that Disney had a pretty good year with a little movie you may have heard of called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But even the power of the Force may not be able to stand up against the power of Disruption.