Shares of Disney stock fell almost 9 percent at times on Wednesday, a decline CNN Money attributed to worries about ESPN.

Disney, which owns ESPN, reported mixed second-quarter results on Tuesday. Its quarterly revenue of $13.1 billion was up 5 percent from the same quarter a year ago but fell $100 million short of Wall Street expectations, snapping the company’s seven-quarter streak of beating sales estimates, according to TheStreet.

ESPN reportedly is cutting costs in the wake of a declining subscriber base and recently severed ties with a number of high-priced personalities, including Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd and Keith Olbermann.

In a conference call Tuesday, Disney chief excutive Bob Iger defended ESPN, per CNN Money:

Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that there have been “some subscriber losses” at ESPN because some households have opted for smaller cable packages that don’t include the pricey cable channel.
But he said that Nielsen’s estimate of the decline — 3.2 million subscribers in a little more than 12 months — was overstated. The flagship channel has more than 90 million subscribers overall.
On a conference call with investors on Tuesday, Iger forcefully expressed confidence in ESPN’s future, and he reiterated that view in interviews on Wednesday morning.

ESPN remains a massive profit generator for Disney — Forbes reports that Disney’s cable segment generated 46 percent of the company’s total operating income — but the company now seems to be tempering its expectations. Again, here’s CNN Money:

ESPN continues to make huge amounts of money through its $6-a-month subscriber fee, but Disney said Tuesday that its year-over-year profits won’t be quite as high as it had forecast earlier.
The expectation was for high-single-digit operating profit growth from Disney’s cable channels (led by ESPN) and now the forecast is for mid-single-digit growth.