We learned a LOT from the Walt Disney Company Quarterly Earnings Call, and we’re reporting ALL of it to you!
One of the main points of the call was the recent strategy switch to focus on Direct-To-Consumer and the success of Disney+ in its first year. We’re breaking down ALL the entertainment updates so let’s dive in!
Overall Entertainment Update
The call featured Disney CEO Bob Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy addressing the Walt Disney Company finances. Chapek called the bright spot of the year the Direct-To-Consumer and International segments which exceeded expectations.
The Walt Disney Studios obviously saw a massive impact from the global health crisis but were able to adapt. Chapek noted that animation teams were able to work remotely and uninterrupted, post-production work continued, and live-action production has even resumed.
Chapek explained that COVID-19 may continue to impact Walt Disney Studios, including future productions. It depends on the path that the global health crisis takes.
Speaking of the global health crisis, Chapek gave a shout out to ABC news teams for their hard work during a tumultuous year.
Sports have continued to be a highlight for Disney — more than half of the most watched cable shows this year have been sports, and September was the best month ever for ESPN streaming, and the company expects ESPN ad revenue will end Q1 HIGHER than the prior year.
Disney’s direct-to-consumer income improved by $300 million vs. the prior year, exceeding expectations, and Chapek said that the company is “more committed than ever to investing in our businesses in particular our direct-to-consumer strategy.”
What are the numbers? Hulu had 36.6 million subscribers at end of quarter, ESPN+ was at 10.3 million subscribers at end of quarter, and Disney+ was at a whopping 73.7 million subscribers.
Chapek also said that in addition to new episodes of The Mandalorian, Black Beauty and The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, there’s much more coming to Disney+ and Hulu. “We can’t wait for you to see the extraordinary content that’s being created for our full portfolio of streaming services,” he said. “We remain very excited about our future and we look forward to sharing more details on our evolving DTC strategy. It’s very clear to us that new content drives subscribers.”
Chapek noted he was “very pleased” with results from Mulan, which was Disney’s first foray into a strategy like Premiere Access, where subscribers to Disney+ also had to pay an additional price to watch the movie.
Unfortunately, the film was met with controversy worldwide, but overall there were positive results that let Disney know that the Premiere Access strategy could work. “We were very pleased with the results of Mulan as a premiere access title,” he said. “We’ve got something here in terms of the premiere access strategy.”
We’ve been wondering what would happen with premiere access since Disney is releasing the new Pixar film, Soul, for FREE on Christmas Day. But, Chapek said the idea is that is a nice gesture to subscribers to offer Soul during the holidays without an added cost.
And those are all of the entertainment updates from Disney’s Q4 earnings call! It seems like we have a LOT to look forward to in the coming months, and when those details are revealed, DFB will fill you in!
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What do you think of the entertainment updates? Tell us in the comments!