In an effort to ease anxiety among its linear entertainment business teams, Disney CEO Bob Iger had an off-site meeting with senior leaders Tuesday to reaffirm the company’s commitment to the sector, CNN has learned.
The meeting comes shortly after Iger’s candid comments to CNBC’s David Faber in which he suggested Disney’s linear business “may not be core” to the entertainment giant, a remark that prompted unease throughout the industry.
Employees within Disney General Entertainment Content – the division responsible for ABC, Disney Channel, National Geographic, and FX – have allegedly experienced a high level of discomfort since Iger’s announcement. They have also found it strange that Iger hasn’t provided memos or town halls to further address his statement or offer internal reassurance on the future of the company; all leaving them “in the dark”.
On Tuesday, however, Iger field questions from senior leaders at the off-site meeting in an attempt to quell further worry. He proclaimed how content created by production teams is an “incredibly valuable asset to Disney” and that he was “ridiculously passionate” about the news; suggesting the divisions will still have a place in the company’s future.
Though his passion for the sector was made clear, highlighted through his words was the fact that the linear divisions may still be on the market. The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to streaming services, and Iger’s assertion that the linear business is “not core”, can only point out that he will look to gain the highest price from its possible sale.
One such Disney insider noted, “It’s great to say he loves the jewel. It’s great to say that the jewel is important. It’s great to say that the jewel is fun. But he has revealed the truth: he wants to get the highest price he can for the jewel because he can’t afford it anymore.”
Thus, while Iger’s attempts to soothe the worries of the stressed-out organizations is appreciated, it’s uncertain what impact it will have on their long-term outlook. There are still a number of questions left unanswered such as what elements will make the transition to streaming and if the company’s general commitment to the linear sector will remain.
Iger has affirmed his support for the sectors, whether Disney is able to find a place for it as streaming and other aspects of Disney’s digital efforts become increasingly important, remains to be seen.