Report: Iger Says ESPN Could Go Direct to Consumer

Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger told CNBC Monday that its flagship sports channel ESPN could eventually be sold direct to consumers like a growing number of channels, but that it wouldn’t happen in the next five years.

Iger told CNBC’s Squawk Box that ESPN could at some point bypass distributors like HBO’s direct-to-consumer HBO Now offering, but said that ESPN would look for much deeper penetration into the marketplace.

“Five years out, I don’t think you see significant change,” Iger told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “I think eventually ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumers, where there is an engagement in that ESPN will know who their consumers are, will use that info to customize their product, enable personalization to essentially engage in a much more effective way and also to offer advertisers more value as well. That’s longer term. I think there is an inevitability to that, but I don’t think it is right around the corner.”

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