Disney Headlines for June 22nd, 2022
This week, we discuss the dream Disney travel package that has the 99-percenters angry, why Disney+ is in trouble, and the Gravity Falls tweet that has everyone in stitches.
The Disney empire includes some strange headlines these days.
How Much Would You Pay…
Yeah, I don’t always understand Disney’s thought process. I mean, the answer is $$$$$$, but that’s not what fans want to see.
For example, Disney just announced this once-in-a-lifetime “bucket list adventure.” So, if Deadline covers the story, you know it’s a major headline.
The gist is that 75 folks will spend $109,995 each to experience Disney Parks Around the World: A Private Jet Adventure.
By the way, the pricing expects double occupancy. For those of you traveling alone (you’re going, right?), you should expect add-on fees in the tens of thousands.
Think of this social experiment as Disney’s way of causing FOMO among the One Percent while the 99-percenters roll their eyes as hard as humanly possible.
On this trip, a finite number of people will travel to Disney’s 12 theme parks around the world. Presumably, they’ll be treated like royalty at each park.
At those prices, you should probably get some Disney shares thrown in as well. Hey, they’re cheap right now!
What You Get for the Price of a Porsche
Anyway, tourists on this adventure will visit other destinations like the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Eiffel Tower. So, it’s like Soarin’ at $100,000 times the cost!
Oh, you also get to visit Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm’s campus. So, you’ll do better than these guys:
The caveats with this package are a lot of the fun for me. For example, “The package price includes most meals.”
You couldn’t spring for all the meals, Disney? Are you sending them to the local mall food court for the rest?
Also, guests must pay for their own travel to and from the arrival and departure cities. So, the private jets don’t start until you’re on the clock at Disney.
Call me crazy, but for $100k, I think Disney should come to get you. Social media is having a field day with this story, but I actually kind of respect the hustle here.
Disney earns at least $8.25 million by selling out this package. And because it’s Disney, I do expect this to sell out. It’s either that or NOBODY buys.
I don’t think there’s any in-between here.
The High Cost of Cricket
Disney executives continue to express confidence that they’ll reach their target goal of 240-260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.
However, those plans took a bit of a hit the other day when Disney drew a line in the sand about the high price of…cricket.
I recognize that this story’s international component may confuse some, but here’s the thing.
Indian Premier League cricket is akin to the NFL in the United States. The difference is that we have 330 million people in America.
India’s population of 1.4 billion includes many more cricket fanatics. So, we’re talking about four times the scale of the NFL in terms of fandom.
For this reason, Disney relished a gift from one of its former executives, Peter Rice. While at Fox, Rice snagged the streaming rights to the IPL.
Disney benefitted mightily from those when it launched Hotstar in India. However, in this country’s version of Disney+, Hotstar’s main selling point isn’t Disney programming.
Instead, IPL cricket has led to some historic streaming numbers since its inception.
In fact, when the pandemic shuttered the league, that decision impacted Disney’s bottom line enough that the executives mentioned it during the earnings report.
Recently, the IPL cricket licensing rights went on sale again, and Disney didn’t win the bidding…well, not all of it.
Disney maintained the linear streaming rights at the hefty price of $3 billion. That averages $600 million a year.
Folks, Disney currently pays $240 million annually for the NBA. Cricket is now costing 150 percent more. That’s not even the fascinating part.
Why Bob Chapek May Be Worried
Disney only kept television rights, which is to say the advertising revenue component. A company named Viacom18 won the digital streaming rights.
For this reason, Disney+ is in peril. Here, look at this tweet to understand why:
For the West, it’s more Disney+ *losing* #IPLMediaRights than Viacom ‘winning’ it. Every major headline from NYT to The Hustle highlights the loss part. Why? Because Hotstar accounts for over 36% of Disney+ global subscriber base. And without IPL, who needs (paid) Hotstar? pic.twitter.com/mWBJ6Buazk
— Sohini M. (@Mittermaniac) June 14, 2022
Yes, 50 million people subscribe to Hotstar. That’s 36 percent of total Disney+ subscribers worldwide.
Analysts fear that as many as 20 million of those customers may not renew since they no longer need Disney to watch IPL cricket.
The way the process works, Hotstar cannot auto-renew subscriptions in India as per national law.
So, Disney recently signed up many of these people for another quarter/year of service. Over the next ten months, Disney must persuade those customers not to leave.
Otherwise, Disney+ will face a subscription numbers crisis in a matter of months as its 240 million goal collapses.
The fascinating part here is how the math has changed. Disney would have needed another $2.5 billion to maintain the digital streaming rights.
A year ago, Disney would have paid that without hesitation. Wall Street prioritized subscriber numbers over all else.
Now, Wall Street prefers subscribers at reasonable costs relative to the licensing and production costs.
For this reason, Disney chose to save the $2.5 billion at the risk of 20 million subscribers.
Frankly, I believe those totals represent a wildly unlikely doomsday scenario.
However, I think that Disney+ will lose something in the range of 2-5 million subscribers because of this cricket setback.
Gravity Falls and Other Disney Entertainment Headlines
Alex Hirsch created one of the best Disney programs ever, Gravity Falls. If you haven’t watched it yet, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to binge the whole thing.
Recently, Hirsch and his partner, Owl House creator Dana Terrace, have experienced some tumult with Disney.
Terrace, a bisexual woman, was actively livid over Disney’s initial reaction to the Don’t Say Gay bill.
The extremely talented duo has since shown previous instances of internal conflicts with Disney, one of which is absolutely hysterical.
Do yourself a favor and watch all four minutes and 43 seconds of this video:
One last treat. Ever curious about the fights I had with the censors on Gravity Falls? I probably shouldn't share this buttttt here are some REAL NOTES from DISNEY S&P and my REAL REPLIES. You are not prepared #10YearsOfGravityFalls pic.twitter.com/EioKU8gIJJ
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) June 16, 2022
The final bit of that clip made me laugh as hard as anything in calendar 2022. I apologize if I’ve oversold it for you, but Alex Hirsch is one of my favorite storytellers.
Speaking of which, the live-action remake of Hercules just got its director.
Guy Ritchie will helm this project, which sounds nuts until you remember that he also directed the Aladdin reboot.
Still, I struggle to wrap my head around the idea of the Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels dude creating a new version of Go the Distance:
Finally, Disney+ just confirmed that Zootopia+ will arrive on the service this November. We honestly don’t know much more than that at the moment.
Still, if the show does well – and it should – this Disney Rumor grows a bit closer to reality.
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