Disney CEO Bob Iger held an employee town hall meeting yesterday, November 28th, 2023, to discuss the company’s future plans and priorities. Speaking from the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, Iger was upbeat about Disney’s prospects while acknowledging the challenges the company has faced over the past year since his return as CEO.
Financial Performance and Cost Cutting
Iger stated that the company has emerged from a period of “fixing” and is ready to start “building again”, which he described as “a lot more fun than fixing.” He said Disney is on track to exceed its target of $5 billion in cost savings, having identified $7.5 billion in cuts so far. These savings have put Disney in a position to improve profitability going forward.
Expansion of Parks and Experiences
A top priority highlighted by Iger is the expansion of Disney’s parks and experiences business. He committed to $60 billion in investments in the parks over the next decade. This will include new attractions, hotels, cruise ships, and other immersive experiences to boost growth in this profitable division.
Launch of ESPN Streaming Service
Iger announced plans to launch a direct-to-consumer ESPN streaming platform no later than 2025. This will allow Disney to offset declines in ESPN’s traditional cable subscriptions by better monetizing sports rights in the streaming era.
Disney’s film studio has struggled recently, and Iger said a focus will be improving the “output and economics” of the movie business. He implied Disney will cut back on the number of films released theatrically each year and focus more on franchises and tentpole releases to improve profitability.
Assessing Disney’s Assets
Iger stated that all of Disney’s business units will be evaluated in terms of their growth potential as the company charts its future. He is considering strategic options for slower-growing assets, including potentially selling the TV business or finding partners for ESPN. But no firm decisions have been made yet. Overall, Iger expressed optimism about opportunities for Disney to expand its strongest brands and divisions, including parks, streaming, and studios. He plans to focus on quality over quantity, profitability over sheer subscriber numbers, and leveraging Disney’s unmatched intellectual property. Cost cutting will continue to fund growth initiatives as the media giant enters a new era under Iger’s leadership.