ESPN sees a 'direct-to-consumer' future

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 28 July 2015

The era of pay-TV distribution holding a stranglehold over the airing of non-broadcast networks may be nearing an end, if one of the most coveted nets takes a pro- la carte TV stance. ESPN, however, sees a direct-to-consumer future.

"Eventually, ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumer, where there's an engagement that ESPN will know who their consumers are, will use that information to customise the product to enable personalisation, to engage more effectively and offer advertisers more value as well," said Disney CEO Bob Iger, in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box.

He added: "That's longer-term. I think there's an inevitability to that, but I don't think it's right around the corner."

And by "longer-term," he said that despite ongoing pay-TV losses, nothing will change significantly in the next five years. For now, 83% of US multichannel households tuned into ESPN during the first quarter.