The Walt Disney Company released its Quarterly Earnings Report for Quarter 3 of Fiscal Year 2021 earlier today, and CEO Bob Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy hosted the company’s Quarterly Earnings Call this afternoon.
We learned quite a bit of interesting news today, from the continued growth of Disney+ to the steady demand for Disney Parks! Let’s recap all of the major announcements and updates from this afternoon’s call.
Disney Parks Shows Profitability For the First Time Since the Pandemic Began
Perhaps the most exciting bit of news right off the bat was that the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division showed profitable numbers for the first time since the pandemic began.
Disney Parks suffered major blows to its bottom line quarter after quarter as park closures continued and park attendance remained limited in 2020 and in the beginning of 2021. This quarter, however, Disney Parks reported that “segment operating results increased $2.2 billion to income of $356 million.”
These numbers compared to a loss of about $1.87 billion during the same quarter last year.
Attendance Levels at Disney Parks Were At or Near Capacity Last Quarter
One of the biggest trends we’ve been following over the past year is attendance and capacity levels at the Disney Parks. When Disney World first reopened last summer, the parks were at a lowered capacity to allow for physical distancing, but since then, park capacity has steadily increased.
During the earnings call today, Bob Chapek shared that during the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 “attendance levels were at or near daily capacity levels which increased throughout the quarter.”
Delta Variant Seems to Have No Negative Impact on Parks’ Demand
A question was raised during the earnings call regarding the recent surge in COVID-19 cases due in large part to the Delta variant, and if Disney had seen any impact from the variant on operations in the parks.
Bob Chapek responded by saying that “we see strong demand for our parks continuing,” and that currently, Park Reservations are above the attendance levels they saw in Q3.
In terms of any negative impacts, Chapek did note that “the primary noise that we’re seeing right now is really around group or convention cancelations.” He added that operating costs as it relates to hygienic practices could have a short-term adverse impact, but in the long-term, Chapek is looking to the Park Pass Reservation System “to spread our demand, increase the yield, and improve the guest experience at the same time.”
Click here to read more about Bob Chapek’s remarks on the Delta variant and its impact on the parks.
Disney+ Continues to Gain New Followers
As we’ve seen in prior quarters, Disney shared the updated subscriber totals across their major streaming platforms today: Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.
Combined, the three platforms have garnered a total of nearly 174 million paid subscribers, with the vast majority belonging to Disney+. As of July 3rd, Disney+ had a total of 116 million paid subscribers.
During the earnings call, Bob Chapek announced a special campaign to bring on even more new subscribers in the coming quarter — Disney+ Day!
November Will Bring Us Disney+ Day!
Some news we weren’t expecting today came when Bob Chapek announced that they would be hosting “Disney+ Day“ on November 12th, 2021 — the 2-year anniversary since the streaming service first launched.
As a marketing push to gain new subscribers, Disney+ Day will include an “exciting lineup” of an “attractive group of titles to be announced.” So, the exact details on what Disney+ Day will include are unknown at this time, but we now have our calendars marked for November 12th!
We (Finally) Learned More about Disney Genie!
It feels like forever ago since Disney first announced its next parks planning system known as Disney Genie. Details have been sparse thus far when it comes to the upcoming app, but during today’s earnings call, we FINALLY got some new information about what the service will be like!
Bob Chapek compared Disney Genie to the existing My Magic+, saying that Genie will be “that program on steroids.” According to Chapek, Genie will revolutionize the guest experience, combining consumer preferences with industrial engineering and data on how the park is operating that day to make suggestions on the fly.
We’re still anxiously awaiting more of the nuts-and-bolts information regarding when we can expect this system to come online, but it was a real treat to hear more about Disney Genie this afternoon!
Chapek Comments on Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit
Without mentioning any one person by name, a question was raised during the Q&A session regarding how Disney thinks about the success of a film in today’s environment, and in how Disney attracts and compensates talent.
This question was brought up amidst a growing legal battle between the Walt Disney Company and Scarlett Johansson — the actress claims Disney committed a breach of contract when Black Widow was simultaneously released on Disney+, which allegedly diminished her potential bonus earnings from box office revenue.
Chapek responded to the question without specifically addressing the lawsuit by noting that the hybrid model of theatrical releases alongside a Disney+ launch via Premier Access “was the right strategy to enable [them] to reach the broadest possible audience.” In doing so, Chapek added that the company has figured out ways to fairly compensate their talent so that everyone feels satisfied, no matter the business model.
Since the pandemic began, Chapek shared that Disney has entered into hundreds of talent arrangements and that, by and large, they’ve gone smoothly. Currently, Disney is seeking to bring the lawsuit to arbitration, and we will continue to monitor any and all new developments.
This afternoon was filled with interesting updates and announcements from the Walt Disney Company! We heard more about how the parks are continuing to recover following the closures in 2020 and 2021, and we’re seeing even more growth from Disney+. As always, we’ll keep a close eye on the latest news from Disney, and we will make sure that YOU can stay up-to-date on everything!
Counting down the days to Disney World’s 50th Anniversary? It just got easier, thanks to My Disney Experience!
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Would you use a service like Disney Genie? Let us know in the comments!