US media titans tangled up in cord cutting

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Kirby Hamilton | Getty Images

U.S. media titans keep tripping over cut cords. Healthy profits and outlooks from the likes of Walt Disney and Time Warner this week weren't enough to disentangle them.

The steady payouts from cable and satellite operators are looking shakier. A digital reality of a la carte programming and video streaming is setting in.

The Force should have been with Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger. "Star Wars" box-office, merchandise and video game sales helped the company generate record quarterly earnings of $2.9 billion.

Even so, Iger couldn't escape growing concerns, which he himself first flagged last August, over Disney's juggernaut ESPN. Some 99 million subscribers in 2013 have declined to an admittedly still-impressive 90 million or so, according to Nielsen.

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