Bob Iger and top executives stressed a commitment to quality over quantity as the studio’s film slate has had a bumpy ride, talking about the parks and ESPN and looking at the future of its television business at an upcoming town hall today. , one year after the Disney CEO returned to his position.
“I spent the year with the team fixing a lot of things,” Egger said. “But I feel like we’ve just come out of a period of a lot of repairs into a period of building again, and I can tell you that building is more fun than repairing.”
“In evaluating some of our performance, recently, one of the reasons I think it’s gone down a little bit is because we’ve been making too much money,” Iger said. “I think when it comes to creativity, quality is of course crucial, and quantity in many ways can destroy quality. Storytelling is obviously at the core of what we do as a company.
There’s no word on ESPN’s strategic partners, but the sports juggernaut is still on track to launch live streaming in 2025, according to town hall attendees. The gardens are a bright spot and were front and center.
Appearing on stage for about an hour at City Hall at New York City’s New Amsterdam Theater, along with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro, Disney Theme Parks President Josh D’Amaro, and Disney Entertainment Co-Presidents Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, Iger continued to push a similar narrative. From the latest earnings from earlier this month.
All of this was “uplifting,” as one Disney Town Hall attendee described it.
“I knew there were countless challenges I would face upon returning,” Iger said. “I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I never wavered in the decision to come back, and it’s still great to come back.”
“I talk about optimism being a very important trait for a leader, because no one wants to follow a pessimist. But I also believe that hopeless optimism doesn’t do anyone any good. I think I have a real reason – and we have a real reason as Disney – to be optimistic, and it starts with the fact that we are Disney. And Disney , you know, it’s a brand in itself, but it’s also an umbrella company with a lot of assets and a lot of great brands. So, the first reason for optimism is that.
Pitaro reiterated plans for ESPN to achieve its 2025 goal of being direct-to-consumer. “We’re in the market now doing research. We’re looking at things like timing, things like price point,” he said. “Our mission is to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere. So, if you want to continue accessing ESPN the traditional way via cable or satellite, you’ll be able to do that even after we move on… but if you want to buy it outright without subscribing to a cable or satellite package, you’ll be able to do so. And so, we look at things like pricing, things like timing, and we also look at product improvements.
Meanwhile, Walden confirmed that the combined Hulu and Disney+ single-app experience will be in beta testing later this month, with plans for a full rollout in March.
Pom poms were waved on the theme park side, as D’Amaro emphasized the $60 billion investment in the experiences side, emphasizing how the parks have rebounded dramatically coming out of the pandemic in terms of attendance. The new Frozenland theme park at Hong Kong Disneyland is a success, proof that Disney still has a touch when it comes to bringing magical experiences to life.
“We stood on stage several weeks ago in front of the investor community and said we will invest $60 billion in the next 10 years in this business because we believe in it,” he said. “We’ve seen what’s been done. We’re seeing the impact it’s having on our guests and fans around the world. We have a lot of space to play with. Disneyland for example, Walt’s original theme park, we still have enough room to build another Disneyland there if we choose to do it. There’s So many stories to keep telling, so many new places to go. “We’ve come a long way in the last few years but we’re very excited about the future,” D’Amaro said.
Bergman emphasized much of the same message that Iger emphasized in the earnings call about how the studio’s mission in a year of mistakes was such wonders wishes, And Indiana Jones and the Connection of Destiny Quality will be more than quantity. Great storytelling is the foundation of success, and when it works it sends a positive ripple effect to theme parks and consumer products. After a year of box office decline, Bergman spoke about how important it is to learn from the company’s shortcomings and move forward. He expressed his happiness with the upcoming year’s list, which includes: Omen Prequel, new Planet of the Apes, Inside out 2new alien And Deadpool 3Which recently resumed filming after the actors’ strike.
“We are really excited that we were able to reach deals with our partners,” he said.
“Obviously we want to rebuild our studio to not only consistently produce great films but also… [to] Iger noted our prominent position in the business.
Moderated by ABC News’ David Muir.
Disney’s expected all-hands meeting comes as the company faces a slew of challenges that have grown and morphed over the year since Iger’s surprising and dramatic return as CEO. Things were tough back then, too, but Iger’s presence reassured investors and employees. The big news at the time was that there was no merger with Apple and no new acquisitions. All of this is true so far, except for the upcoming multibillion-dollar purchase of Comcast’s stake in Hulu.
Iger has gotten to work, dismantling the unpopular corporate structure pioneered by his predecessor Bob Chapek and will go on to cut 7,000 jobs. He recently spun off ESPN into its own division. He rocked the media world earlier this year when he indicated he would be open to alternatives to ABC and Disney’s cable networks and stations as linear TV continues to decline.
Speaking with Muir, Iger shared how much he loves ABC News and everything the ABC News team does.
Walden talked about how Hulu and ABC audiences are free and not duplicative and how important it is to be able to meet audiences where they are. She noted that the average age of streaming viewers is 60+ while on Hulu/streaming it is 30+, so when you combine that, you can reach a large audience of different ages.
The example I gave was ABC’s hit New Reality Golden Bachelor, which attracted a large number of viewers on both the streaming network and on Hulu. “It launches on ABC, then goes straight to Hulu hours later, and still reaches nearly 15 million viewers, but meets our viewers where they are,” she said.
Both Iger and Walden talked about the One App experience launching in March and how great it would be to have Disney’s general entertainment titles on the app alongside their own branded content.
Moyer joked that Golden Bachelor And Fghr will be able to stay next door World news tonight. Golden Bachelor It was a running theme, providing ease to proceedings, as audience members desperately tried to get the scoop on who won Gerry’s heart but were asked to tune in on Thursday.
Iger said the company’s priorities are to continue building theme parks, transform ESPN into a “preeminent digital sports platform” and “ultimately bring ESPN directly to consumers rather than just cable and satellite.”
“We’ve only been in the streaming business for four years and have accomplished a tremendous amount there. I want to turn this streaming business into something even more significant than it is now.
More is coming…
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