Experts weigh in: Can BAMTech save ESPN?
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?