Disney Analyzing Pay-TV Mergers for Impact on Business

Walt Disney Co. is evaluating how the planned merger of AT&T Inc. and DirecTV will affect its business, according to Jay Rasulo, chief financial officer of the world’s biggest entertainment company.

“Whether it’s that merger or Comcast-Time Warner Cable, it’s no surprise to us that there is consolidation,” Rasulo said today at the Bloomberg CFO Conference in New York. “We have strong relationships with all of those companies. We are analyzing how that will affect the ecosystem. This is early days.”

Disney, owner of ESPN, the Disney Channel and the ABC broadcast network, is one of the biggest suppliers of programming to cable and satellite TV providers. Like other content producers, the company has been selling more of its shows to online networks such as Netflix Inc., which represent a threat to pay-TV distributors.

The $48.5 billion AT&T-DirecTV deal, announced this week, and Comcast Corp.’s $45 billion plan to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc., involve four of the biggest buyers, potentially giving them more clout in content negotiations.

“We recognize there is a change in the landscape from what has been a very valuable and profitable landscape,” Rasulo said. “The world is evolving toward more content being distributed over the top. Netflix is a great example. There will be more.”

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