Bob Iger

Disney CEO Robert Iger was in Boston on Wednesday as the keynote speaker at the Boston College Chief Executives Club to talk about all of the things the entertainment behemoth is up to. That includes reports of Disney potentially acquiring Twitter or Netflix, neither of which he would comment on.

Even without an answer, the looming possibilities seemed to create an awareness about the issues facing Disney in the changing world of entertainment consumption, especially when it comes to ESPN and its shrinking cable audience.

As Greg Ryan on Boston Biz Journal notes, either acquisition would give Disney something it’s going to need. Bigger online distribution platforms.

One of Disney’s properties, ESPN, has felt the pain of the changing ways that consumers consume content. The network has lost ratings as sports fans have switched from getting their sports highlights on “Sportscenter” at 11 p.m. to finding them on their smartphones immediately after or even as they happen. Consumers who “cut the cord” and get rid of cable packages in favor of watching content online are increasingly a threat to ESPN, ABC and other Disney properties.

Disney has already made an investment in Major League Baseball property BAMtech, acquiring 33 percent of the distribution company. And based on the rumors of who Disney is going after next, it sounds like Iger wants to increase their ability to do that for not just ESPN but all their properties.

“The biggest thing that we’re trying to do now is figure out in what technology’s role is in distributing the great content that we have. It’s one thing to be as fortunate as we are to have Disney, ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ and Lucasfilm, but in today’s world, it’s almost not enough to have all that stuff unless you have access to your consumer.”

Ryan notes that Netflix probably makes more sense than Twitter if that’s the case, though you can argue that makes more sense for Marvel and Star Wars properties than it does ESPN. ESPN needs to remain relevant and that means keeping it as “live” as possible.  Alas, it doesn’t sound like Disney is going to follow through on that option for now. Still, being able to mesh ESPN properties with Netflix further would go a long way towards keeping their content relevant and rewatched.

Perhaps that’s why both Netflix and Twitter are in the discussion. Disney’s the kind of corporation that could acquire both if it needed to. And maybe it does.


About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to

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