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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.