We’ve got some important updates on the future of The Walt Disney Company.
We recently got a look into the future of the company at Disney’s virtual Investors Day. But now, we have even MORE information on Disney’s financial prospects, investments, growth, and more. Earlier today, Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek participated in a question-and-answer session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. Here’s everything we learned!
To begin, Chapek addressed the change in priority for “direct-to-consumer“which has been mentioned in past conferences. He didn’t realize the amount of non-family appeal that Disney+ would have, and the level of engagement across the globe was surprising. 50% of Disney+ subscribers do not have kids, which is a much higher percentage than the company originally thought.
Chapek then listed some of the company’s priorities for direct-to-consumer. First, they want to create more original content under the brands that are on Disney+ like Marvel and Pixar. General entertainment offerings and local content (specifically with their International service named Star) are on their radar as well.
He mentioned that the company is spending more money on this aspect than they originally intended, but that is being rewarded with a higher subscriber count. Chapek acknowledged that films are in a fluid situation due to COVID-19. The company realizes the short-term impact of COVID-19 affects the number of theaters that are open and the consumers’ willingness to watch a film in a theater. Additionally, he noted that there will be fundamental changes over time in consumer behavior which is particularly profound to Chapek himself.
A good amount of the time was spent on this topic, and afterwards, Morgan Stanley switched things over to talk about the theme parks.
To kick off the theme park section of the Q&A, Chapek started by saying he is thrilled with how guests have responded to the health and safety measures. He said this speaks to the company’s confidence and fuels the fire for when COVID-19 simmers down. Also, they can increase penetration in the theme parks or open some of the parks that remain closed
Chapek notes that the actual recovery will be based on speed of the vaccine and the readiness to travel from guests. He wants to make sure that they re-enter the market in a better way and with better guest experiences. Nobody wanted the parks to be closed, but it was the perfect time to make some operational changes. Here, he referred to the recent decision to discontinue annual passes at Disneyland.
The CEO then moved on to talk about the application of technology in the parks. He believes that technology can help with immersive storytelling and in the end, tell a better story. Chapek talked about Rise of the Resistance and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as the perfect examples for using technology to tell a story.
Chapek then emphasized some of the transitions that the theme parks have already started to make, but that will become more prevalent in the future. This includes keyless room entry, Mobile Order for food, and contactless screening to get into the parks. He also talked about the reopening costs that go along with reopening a theme park after it has been closed for a long period of time. The company is happy to have these costs, especially to get Cast Members back to work.
Marvel and Lucasfilm
When switching to a conversation on the Studios, Morgan Stanley asked a question about superhero fatigue when mentioning Marvel. Chapek answered by saying WandaVision is one of the most unique and creative takes on a Marvel story and went in a completely different direction. He also said that the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be a big, bold cinematic experience. Chapek mentioned Loki, but didn’t say too much other than it is equally creative and inventive.
To sum up the question, he said that they are all superheroes, but it’s much more than that. Chapek also noted the leadership of Kevin Feige at Marvel and Kathleen Kennedy at Lucasfilm are the source of those studios’ success.
The entire Q&A session has been archived on The Walt Disney Company’s website if you want to watch it for yourself. We’ll keep bringing you the latest Disney news and updates, so stay tuned to DFB!
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Did you watch this Q&A session? Let us know in the comments!