Walt Disney Notices Uptick in ESPN Subscribers — CNBC

Disney is expected to tell investors it has seen a slight uptick in subscribers to ESPN, the company’s chief executive told CNBC on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking to CNBC correspondent Julia Boorstin, Disney CEO Robert Iger said the company noticed a slight increase in subscribers to ESPN, the sports-cable juggernaut that has become a source of concern for investors owing to recent evidence of longer-term subscriber declines. Iger did not offer a specific number of subscribers or otherwise quantify the increase.

The executive cited an ongoing passion for live sports and the availability of ESPN in so-called light bundles that some cable operators are making available in new kinds of services. Iger suggested the introduction of services like Dish’s Sling, a broadband-distributed video option, may be drawing some consumers who have cut their cable and satellite subscriptions back to the fold.

The increase is not likely to affect the results of Disney’s fourth quarter, Iger said. The uptick came at the end of the period and after it had closed, he said.

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