We’re coming to the end of a financially unprecedented year for the Walt Disney Company.
We’ve been looking forward to the upcoming investor day since the Q4 and Fiscal 2020 Earnings Call last month. The company has lost billions of dollars due to the global health crisis and now, they’ll be explaining their plans for the financial future to investors. But what can we expect?
Disney’s investor day kicks off Thursday afternoon, and we’ll be reporting on what executives anticipate for 2021. In the meantime, we’re taking a look at what we may expect at investor day, per Variety.
First off, let’s look at what Disney may announce about the theme parks sector. Right now, eyes are primarily on the still-closed Disneyland. Disney doesn’t have many options to reopen its California park with the current shutdown measures and guidelines in California and Variety notes that Disney may offer further criticism of the government’s decisions during investor day.
From an overall standpoint, it’s unlikely that Disney will address the 32,000 announced layoffs during an event they are likely hoping will buff stocks. Still, we may be hearing about the company’s plans to keep theme parks afloat next year as vacation plans slowly become the norm again.
The media sectors may bring us more information. For the film segment, parties are watching Disney for further announcements of films coming directly to Disney+ instead of through theaters, much like they’ve done with Soul. Warner Bros. recent decision to move its entire 2021 slate to simultaneous streaming and theatrical releases has the industry looking to Disney.
Variety notes, “The possibility that Disney could also bring films more quickly to Disney Plus would be the greatest blow yet to cinema operators. Disney’s theatrical offerings are regularly among the biggest ticket sellers of the year.” The financial effect on the movie theater industry could be a major one if Disney opts to move upcoming blockbusters like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise to the streaming space.
Disney executives acknowledge this fact. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said, “When you look at our box office numbers over the last couple of years, we drive a lot of people into theaters to see the Disney films. These tentpole films become kind of part of the zeitgeist of culture… So, once again, we hope the theaters stay healthy and can rebound from this COVID world we’re living in now.”
This does not, however, mean that Disney won’t announce additional films heading the streaming route.
Television and Streaming
Disney+ remains in the start-up period so it is generating significant operating losses, which are expected to peak between 2020 and 2022. CEO Bob Chapek noted he will bring a full-year update on subscriber figures for the service. With such high performance so far, investors may look to hear if Disney+’s previous profitability milestone of 2024 has been moved up. If it has, Variety accounts, Disney’s stock may rise on Friday.
The article also explains that we may see the announcement of anticipated premiere dates for shows such as “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Chapek also noted during the earnings call that “…you’re going to see that we’re going to put a lot of wind in the sails of our Disney Plus business and heavily invest in it.” So, we may learn more about the latest content spending and how it will drive revenue in the direct-to-consumer segment.
As always, the investor day is expected to have a significant impact on stock performance. Disney’s stocks are doing well considering the situation, up over 6% since the start of the calendar year and trading back at pre-pandemic levels, as of Tuesday’s close. Disney’s stock performance on Friday will be a good indication of how investors receive the updates of investor day.
We’ll be reporting on investor day with all of the updates you need to know AND on Disney’s stock performance following. Keep an eye on DFB for full coverage of the announcements.
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