12 SEP 2022

Is Disney willing to spin off ESPN and buy out Comcast’s share of Hulu?

During the latest D23 Expo, an event organized by The Walt Disney Company, Bob Chapek, CEO of the group, talked about the possibility of spinning off ESPN and also of buying Comcast’s 33% share of Hulu.

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Bob Chapek

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During the latest D23 Expo, an event organized by The Walt Disney Company which took place over the weekend near Disneyland in Southern California, Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said the entertainment conglomerate would “be absolutely willing” to buy out Comcast’s 33% share of Hulu ahead of its contractual deadline in 2024.

“It is possible, but that depends on the propensity for the other partner to be willing to have discussions that would bring that to fruition earlier,”  Chapek said during an interview with Variety. On the current timeline, Disney - which owns 67% of Hulu - would take over the remainder of the shares in 16 months, for a still-undecided price.

At the same time, after some investors speculated that the company could spin off ESPN, Chapek made it clear that the group has big plans for its sports network. “Our investors only know what we have shared with them to date. They do not really know what our plans are for the future. We have got very ambitious plans for sports. Something like 95 of the top 100 (most-viewed) shows in the past year on broadcast TV have been live sports. So, if you are in an advertising business, if you are in a business of talking to people, that is kind of a big deal,”  he said.

“The advertising demand for ESPN speaks volumes. But what else speaks volumes is that when the word was out on the street that will maybe Disney will spin off ESPN, we had no less than 100 inquiries of people that wanted to buy it. What does that tell you? That says we have got something really good. And if you have a strategic plan, a vision for where it fits into the company over the next 100 years, then you do not exactly want to divest yourself of it. And we have that plan. We have not shared that plan,”  he added.

Also in the D23 Expo, Disney Branded Television revealed some of its new projects and released never-before-seen content for its series and movies across Disney+, Disney Channel, and Disney Junior during a presentation titled “Disney’s Epic Entertainment Showcase: The Musical: The Extravaganza!” Disney Branded Television's President, Ayo Davis, made the announcements with some help from the casts and creative teams of current and upcoming titles.

“At Disney Branded Television, we create shows full of magic, adventure, thrill, and heart that resonate with audiences around the world. Our announcements today spotlight the breadth and depth of our commitment to entertaining fans of all ages, across animation, live-action series and movies, unscripted, and documentaries,”  Davis said.

Moreover, the Studio Showcase for D23 Expo 2022 featured the latest from Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, and 20th Century Studios. The company fired up fans with new announcements, never-before-seen footage, and stars from Disney’s biggest streaming and theatrical titles slated for the coming months and beyond.