Disney could be a part of Sling
The Walt Disney Company’s (DIS) ESPN is already a part of the single stream version of DISH Network’s (DISH) Sling TV. However, in April this year, DISH launched a new multi-stream version of Sling TV priced at $20 per month and includes channels from Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) but will exclude programming from Disney’s ESPN and ABC channels.
Disney referred to the new multi-stream version of Sling TV in the company’s fiscal 2Q16 earnings call, stating that it was engaged in discussions with DISH Network for the possible inclusion of Disney’s programming in the multi-stream Sling TV.
Disney also stated that Hulu’s plans to launch its online television service are unlikely to impact Disney’s decision to distribute its programming over skinny bundles like DISH’s Sling TV.
Why is Disney interested in Sling?
Disney’s ESPN is also included in Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation Vue service. Disney had stated at a Deutsche Bank (DB) investor conference in March this year that “it’s also important that ESPN be present in the skinny bundles whether they are 2 million of them, 5 million of them, 10 million of them…ESPN should be part of those.”
As the chart above indicates, the number of subscribers for ESPN declined from around 99 million in fiscal 2013 to 92 million in fiscal 2015. However, during the company’s fiscal 1Q16 earnings call, Bob Iger, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Disney noted that ESPN has started to gain subscribers over the last few months. He credited this gain to the inclusion of ESPN in DISH’s Sling TV OTT (over-the-top) service.
Disney makes up 0.86% of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). SPY has 3.4% of its total holdings in the computers sector.