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Photo: Brian Utesch / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger announced Tuesday that Disney's new sports streaming package, set to debut this spring, will be priced at $4.99 monthly and will feature live programming, live sports events and other programming like ESPN's popular 30 for 30 series.

Why it matters: Iger touted growth in digital subscribers (people getting ESPN through digital TV packages on Sling, Hulu, etc.) as a net win for the company, which is looking to transform its linear TV business into a successful digital streaming business. ESPN has lost roughly 12% of of its traditional TV subscribers in six years.

The question for Disney is whether or not consumers will be willing to pay for a standalone sports channel in addition to other digital streaming packages.

  • At a $4.99 price point, the cost is significantly lower than the cable fee consumers pay currently to access ESPN on traditional TV, which is roughly $8. Still, consumers pay that fee as a part of a broader cable package, which typically costs around $100 monthly.

Iger says that while ESPN and other cable channels lost traditional TV subscribers last quarter, the company's growth story is still positive because of a significant increase in OTT (over-the-top) subscribers.

"The adoption rate of new OTT digital MVPDs has grown significantly ... which is important because it's a sign that young people are coming into multichannel (digital) TV. Cord-nevers (people who have never purchased cable packages) are starting to adopt packages that are less expensive, which is a good sign for us."
— Bob Iger

Iger says the redesigned ESPN App will have three new features:

  1. Scores and highlights and an improved user experience that's extremely customized. Iger says the company will use machine learning to provide customized video and text content.
  2. Live-streamed ESPN networks (provided a user is a subscriber to ESPN's service, either through a traditional cable package or digital TV package)
  3. ESPN Plus, which for $4.99 will include "thousands of hours" of programming and live sports events that are not available on ESPN's current cable channels. "We will continue to invest in original and exclusive content just for the app," Iger says.

Overall, Disney did well last quarter, beating on revenue and earnings per share, the company announced Tuesday.

  • Revenue: $15.83 vs. expected $15.45 billion expected by Yahoo Finance
  • Earnings per share: $1.89 vs. $1.61 expected by Yahoo Finance

Driving revenue growth was Disney's Parks and Resorts business, for which revenue grew 13% year over year.

While home entertainment and media networks revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations, the company had a great year at the box office, due to mega hits like Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Go deeper

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.

Biden to Dems: This is my make-or-break moment

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.