Even though Disney’s CEO Bob Iger previously suggested that the impending launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+ wouldn’t mean he’d have to leave Apple’s board of directors, we’ve learned today that he has resigned that position.
Disney could respond to the increase trend toward cord-cutting by offering direct consumer access to ESPN, says Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. This could potentially make it available as a standalone channel on Apple TV, rather than something you can only get if you subscribe to a cable package that includes it.
But don’t rush out to cancel your cable subscription just yet – Iger, who is also on Apple’s board, said in a CNBC interview that the move won’t happen in the next five years. He was responding to questions about the future of the channel in an increasingly difficult market for cable. Enterprise recently reported that the channel lost more than three million viewers in the last year.
Sports network ESPN, meanwhile, reportedly lost 3.2 million viewers over the last year as a growing number of pay-TV customers either cut the cord or sought so-called skinny packages that didn’t include the industry’s most expensive channel. ESPN accounts for about $6 of most cable bills.
Iger said that the company viewed technology as friend rather than foe, and would adapt as the industry changed.
“While the business model may face challenges over the next few years, long term for ESPN … they’ll be fine. They have pricing leverage, too,” Iger said. “Disney [Channel] is another … brand and product that could be sold directly to the customer.”
But with that five year caveat, don’t expect to find ESPN offered as a standalone service like HBO or Showtime, and possibly not even as part of the streaming TV service Apple is expected to launch in the fall.
A Fortune interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger, featured on the magazine’s cover (seen below) today, makes much of the importance of Iger’s relationship with Steve Jobs.
Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram writes: “If there is one particular relationship that has most shaped [Bob Iger’s] thinking, it’s the six-year friendship he had with another CEO: the late Steve Jobs […]
Ed Catumull, Disney’s animation president, says of the Iger/Jobs relationship: “Steve recognized that in Bob he actually had a partner. In the subsequent years they thought of each other as true partners. That’s what he wanted, and that’s not what he had previously.”
The mutual respect the pair felt for each other was reflected in the fact that Jobs, before his death, asked that Iger be invited to take his place on the Apple board … Expand Expanding Close
The Wall Street Journaltoday published a brief profile on Apple CEO Tim Cook as the Cupertino-based company continues to be shaped in the image of Cook rather than co-founder Steve Jobs. The profile has some interested tidbits, but it is otherwise light on new information aside from information regarding Cook’s plan for the Apple Board of Directors. According to the report, Cook is “actively” looking to add fresh faces to the Board:
Following Apple CEO Tim Cook being honored with Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Lifetime Achievement award last December, the university in Alabama from which Tim Cook graduated has shared a video profiling the Apple CEO and his impact at Auburn.While the video was first posted in March and surfaced today, it features commentary and interviews from other notable Apple figures including Jeff Williams, Senior VP of Operations, and Bob Iger, Disney CEO and Apple board member.Expand Expanding Close
Reuters is today running a profile on Apple CEO Tim Cook. There’s of course the inevitable angle in there: stock down, no major new products launched, questions asked about whether Cook has what it takes. But what emerges is a picture of a man who knows he isn’t Steve Jobs and isn’t trying to be.
In the day to day at Apple, Cook has established a methodical, no-nonsense style, one that’s as different as could be from that of his predecessor. Jobs’ bi-monthly iPhone software meeting, in which he would go through every planned features of the company’s flagship product, is gone. “That’s not Tim’s style at all,” said one person familiar with those meetings. “He delegates.”
Yet who also doesn’t shy away from making big decisions in tough circumstances.
[The Apple Maps fiasco] prompted him to fast-track his thinking on the future direction of the critical phone and tablet software known as iOS, a person close to Apple recounted.
Cook soon issued a public apology to customers, fired Forstall, and handed responsibility for software design to Jony Ive, a Jobs soul-mate who had previously been in charge only of hardware design.
“The vision that Tim had to involve Jony and to essentially connect two very, very important Apple initiatives or areas of focus – that was a big decision on Tim’s part and he made it independently and very, very resolutely,” said Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co. and an Apple director … Expand Expanding Close
Bloomberg BusinessWeek published a lengthy piece today on “How Disney Bought Lucasfilm- and Its Plans for ‘Star Wars'” and within we get some some insight from Disney CEO Bog Iger on his relationship with Steve Jobs. According to Iger, after becoming a Disney board member and the company’s largest shareholder, Jobs would sometimes call him to say his movies “sucked.”
The transaction gave Disney a new source of hit movies. Jobs also became a Disney board member and its largest shareholder. Periodically he would call Iger to say, “Hey, Bob, I saw the movie you just released last night, and it sucked,” Iger recalls. Nevertheless, the Disney CEO says that having Jobs as a friend and adviser was “additive rather than the other way around.”
Apple has announced that Arthur D. Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, has been named as Chairman of the Board and will continue serving on the audit comitee. Apple has also announed that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has joined the Board. Tim Cook commented:
“Art has made enormous contributions to Apple since he joined the board in 2000. He has been our longest serving co-lead director, and his insight and leadership are incredibly valuable to Apple, our employees and our shareholders.”
After Steve Jobs stepped down from his role as CEO, he became the company’s first Chairman. Levinson has now taken Jobs’s seat, after the inspirational founder passed away October 5, just a day after the company’s team of executives announced the iPhone 4S at a media event in Cupertino. Since 2005, Levinson served as co-lead director with Andrea Jung. Levinson has been known for pushing Apple to allow third party applications into Apple’s platform and guiding Jobs through Apple’s antenna problems with the iPhone 4.
In 2009, Levinson was forced to resign from Google’s Board of Directors. Levinson was serving on both Google and Apple’s Board, and once Google and Apple began moving into the same space, he was forced to resign from one Board. Consequentially he chose to be part of Apple.
Bob Iger is currently the President and CEO of Disney, and is joining Apple’s board and will serve on the audit committee. Iger and Jobs had a close relationship with one another while Jobs served as Chairman of Disney/Pixar’s Board. Tim Cook commented:
“Bob and I have gotten to know one another very well over the past few years and on behalf of the entire board, we think he is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board. His strategic vision for Disney is based on three fundamentals: generating the best creative content possible, fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, and expanding into new markets around the world which makes him a great fit for Apple.”