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AP Photo/David Kohl, File

When Disney CEO Bob Iger announced last week that the company poured another $1.58 billion into owning 75% of BAMTech — the streaming technology provider worth over $3 billion — it was clear that he saw that acquisition as the key to salvaging ESPN's cord-cutting problem, but some experts see it differently.

BAMTech, currently co-owned by Disney, NHL and Baseball Advanced Media, powers some of the biggest OTT streaming services in America like MLB.TV, HBO Now and WWE. Iger hopes it will give Disney access to a data-based platform that will transform the way it can sell ads, service content and connect with consumers.

Why it matters: Disney has been behind some of its competitors in transitioning into a digital-first, direct-to-consumer business model. One of the biggest rivals of Disney's ABC and ESPN — CBS — has had a streaming network for nearly three years and most of the major sports networks have been operating on streaming networks for years as well. And even now that Disney is launching a streaming service, there's no guarantee that consumers will be willing to pay for it.

So, will it be enough to save ESPN, which has lost 12% of its subscriber based in six years?

Top industry analysts have mixed opinions:

  1. Moody's Senior Vice President Neil Begley: It will keep ESPN's digital strategy flexible enough to meet consumer demands: "It will position Disney as a leading player on both the technology side and the content production and ownership side of the evolving video ecosystem equation, and enable the company to maneuver competitively despite disruption risks such as the quickening changes in consumer viewing preferences and habits."
  2. Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research: It will do more damage than good, if ESPN's content strategy doesn't reflect the new platform: "I think the single biggest question is whether Disney is serious enough about direct to consumer to actually offer what consumers want, which isn't just a watered down version of the ESPN available on cable, but the whole shebang."
  3. BTIG Media Analyst Rich Greenfield: Too Little, Too Late for Disney – Bob Iger's Strategic Mistakes Likely Irreversible Now: "Disney could have built its own direct-to-consumer streaming infrastructure over the past couple of years for a fraction of the combined $2.6 billion it has invested for a 75% stake in BAMTech. However, building their own streaming platform would have required substantial pain to Disney's P&L, whereas investing in BAMTech only appears on Disney's balance sheet. While Disney management has tried to position the BAMTech deal as a savvy technology move, we actually see it as ESPN further increasing its investment in sports rights."

Go deeper

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

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 10 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.