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Disney is looking to unload its interest in cable channel Fusion

A few years ago, Fusion, a cable network aimed at millennials and young Latinos who make up a growing portion of the U.S. population, seemed like a good idea to the Walt Disney Co.

Now — in an age of cable-cord cutting, "cord-nevers" who don't sign up for cable, and the emergence of streaming online video services — not so much. Disney is looking to unload its 50 percent stake in the channel and digital content provider it co-owns with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

A spokesman for Disney declined to comment, but executives inside the company confirmed news of the possible sale first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Univision handles the programming and editorial operations of Fusion, which carries a weekly show with the parent company's Spanish-language TV news anchor Jorge Ramos. Univision appears to be the likely candidate to take over Disney's interest in the venture, which was launched in 2013.

Disney oversaw ad sales and distribution for Fusion, negotiating the carriage deals with video providers. The channel, which formally launched in 2013, is available in about 40 million homes, barely making it viable for national advertisers.

The recent IPO filing for Univision stated that Fusion showed a net loss of $35 million in 2014 with revenues of $28 million.

It's likely that Disney no longer needs Fusion now that it has plans to rename its fully distributed cable channel ABC Family and aim it at a younger target audience. The channel, which airs the popular series Pretty Little Liars, will be known as Freeform starting in January.

Disney also has a significant stake in Vice Media, the youth-oriented media and digital content company. It also owns Maker, a short-form video producer that appeals to millennials with programming it offers on YouTube.

The company has told financial analysts that it expects slower revenue growth for its cable segment overall because of operator subscriber losses.

Disney is looking to unload its interest in cable channel Fusion 12/24/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2015 5:15pm]
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