During their earnings call, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy had plenty to say about how the House of Mouse is doing from a financial perspective. One thing she mentioned that’s quite concerning is about their future plans for streaming and services like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. She said:
Disney is ““in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation” and “will be removing certain content from our streaming platforms.” According to McCarthy, Disney expects a writedown in Q3 of $1.5-$1.8 billion from removing the content. McCarthy also said “going forward we intend to produce lower volumes of content in alignment with this strategic shift.”
That sure sounds like what Warner Bros. Discovery is doing with certain content on its service HBO Max, soon to be called MAX. Disney+ lost around 4 million subscribers in the first three months of 2023. It was their second quarterly drop after closing 2022 with their first-ever decline in subscribers. They also narrowed their streaming business losses by $400 million, which is down 26%.
They finished the quarter with 157.8 million subscribers, which was off their projection of 163.17 million.
The bright spot in the quarter for Disney was its Parks, Experiences, And Products group. They saw revenue climb 17% to $7.8 billion, and operating income rise 23% to $2.2 billion. Guests are spending more and staying longer at Disney Parks.
Bob Iger also announced during the call that Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ would all merge into one streaming service by the end of 2023. Here’s what he had to say in a letter to shareholders.
“We’re pleased with our accomplishments this quarter, including the improved financial performance of our streaming business, which reflect the strategic changes we’ve been making throughout the company to realign Disney for sustained growth and success. From movies to television, to sports, news, and our theme parks, we continue to deliver for consumers, while establishing a more efficient, coordinated, and streamlined approach to our operations.”
A Troubling Quote From McCarthy
That quote at the top is especially troubling due to the fact that Disney refuses to put any content from Hulu, Disney+, or ESPN+ on home video. The only place to watch these shows and movies is on their platform. If they start deleting things, they’ll be lost forever. At least with some of the HBO Max content being cut, it was released on Home Video. It’s a horrible practice by Disney and these other media companies, that just write off shows and movies to get tax breaks. It’s anti-creator, anti-art, and just bad practice.
Let’s hope that with a merger and other moves being made that Disney finally starts putting some of their content on physical releases.
This is an updating story.
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