On Bob Iger’s to-do list: Fix ESPN, TV, Pixar, and more

Think your to-do list is packed? Try running a ~$158B entertainment conglomerate.

Bob Iger would probably be the first to tell you he’s bad at retirement.

ESPN subscribers by year

Part of the problem is that he’s really good at his job, with Disney stock multiplying in value during his first stint as CEO. Another part is that there are few people, if any, better suited to tackle the company’s growing list of challenges.

Just over half a year since he reclaimed Disney’s top spot, here’s what we imagine Iger’s to-do list looks like:

Steer ESPN: As cable cords continue to get cut, live sports rights are becoming increasingly fragmented and expensive — a bad recipe for ESPN. Disney sees a future where ESPN offers the flagship sports streaming service, but getting there will mean cutting lots of complex deals and potentially short-term profits.

Figure out, uh, the entire future business model of TV: Looking beyond the writers’ and actors’ strike (hard to do at the moment), Iger has tapped former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs to help think through what to do with — and possibly where to sell — ABC and Disney’s other legacy TV properties.

Redo succession: Not the TV show. “Succession” as in who will succeed him, and the pressure is on to make a better choice this time around after his last pick, Bob Chapek, lasted less than three years.

Fix Pixar: In 2006, Iger revamped Disney Animation with his $7.4B acquisition of Pixar. Now, facing underwhelming box office performances, Iger must try to find Nemo’s groove again — and with another box office dud in Haunted Mansion, the same could be said about Disney films in general.

Merge with Apple? Definitely don’t count on it, but Iger has said it’s what Steve Jobs would’ve wanted, so ya never know.

With Disney earnings coming up tomorrow, and shares down moderately since his return, expect Iger to face some heat — and to add a few more gargantuan tasks to his docket.

Related Articles

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.