Disney Headlines for July 20th, 2022
A Disney streaming service just raised prices by a LOT. Meanwhile, another one reportedly matters more to Disney+’s growth than Star Wars or Marvel.
Oh, and Disney is $9 billion richer this week. Yes, billion with a b.
Money matters most in the latest set of Disney Headlines.
What’s $9 Billion between Friends?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve largely eschewed fun Disney lists and quizzes in favor of business discussions.
Specifically, I’ve focused on sports because that’s what matters here. Disney leadership has deduced that the company can earn a fortune via live sports.
In fact, Disney has locked down so many valuable intellectual property rights (IP) that it’s had ripple effects on the industry.
A competitor, NBCUniversal, shut down its NBC Sports Network in late 2021. Now, the same company has announced the end of the Olympics Channel.
As the price of live sports broadcasting has increased, the various networks and streaming services have spent more to secure rights.
Anybody who got left behind is dying now. That’s the short-term fate for NBC’s sports division.
Conversely, Disney is soaring with its revenue projections.
For whatever reason, the stock price remains in the tank, but Disney’s finances are in excellent shape.
The latest example involves advertising revenue. Disney just earned presales for fiscal 2022-2023 in the amount of – wait for it — $9 billion.
Forty percent of that revenue comes from streaming advertising, thereby justifying Disney’s decision to switch to a technology company.
For the time being, Disney’s foundational television broadcasting division remains financially lucrative and viable.
Still, everyone acknowledges that those days are coming to an end. When that happens, Disney has already secured its future.
The customers who once watched ABC, ESPN, and the Disney Channel will now consume Disney entertainment via Hulu+, ESPN+, and Disney+.
For the time being, $6.4 billion in ad revenue comes from traditional linear broadcasting, while $3.6 billion comes from Disney+.
As a reminder, Disney+ isn’t even distributing ads yet! However, Disney has performed some presales based on future plans.
In other words, this is a mega-growth business for your favorite company!
But There’s Bad News Too…
Despite this success, Disney just raised the prices on one of its streaming services.
As I just said, the cost of sports broadcasting is soaring at an exponential rate.
Remember a couple of weeks when I talked about Disney having to pay substantially more for Formula One Racing rights?
Yeah, Disney’s passing that cost along to us, the consumers. Well, they’re partially doing that and partly training us to do what the company wants.
This past week, Disney confirmed – but never announced! – that ESPN+ prices would go up substantially.
Previously, the streaming service cost $6.99 per month. Now, it’s gone up to $9.99 per month. Similarly, an annual subscription switched from $69 to $99.
In 2020 and then again in 2021, Disney increased prices by $1. So, ESPN+ cost $4.99 in early 2020 and is now at double that, $9.99 per month.
Why is Disney doing this? Sports rights definitely play a factor. Also, Disney has already surpassed its 2024 (!) projected subscriber numbers for ESPN+.
As such, Disney is freerolling here and can charge more money. That’s not the whole story, though.
The Disney Bundle Strategy
Disney hasn’t raised the price of the Disney Bundle in tandem with this move. Instead, that service remains at its current price point, which starts at $13.99.
For that money, you can access content on ESPN+, Hulu+, and Disney+.
However, ESPN and Hulu distribute ads…the ones Disney just earned $3.6 billion to distribute.
Do you see the plan yet? Disney wants to train its streaming customers to buy the Disney Bundle, preferably on the ad-supported tier.
Then, Disney will monetize these customers by allowing lucrative third-party ads. In a few months, Disney+ will adopt the same approach.
Yes, Disney has a plan here, and it’s brilliant. You’ll enjoy plenty of entertainment for less than $15 a month…but you must watch ads to get it.
Some lucky MickeyBloggers just spent a few days on the Disney Wish alongside John Stamos.
During this cruise, Stamos performed a handful of interviews. During one, he pointed out the one thing about Disney parks that irritated him.
Can you guess what upsets Stamos?
The actor is mad that Disney has named a drink after Neil Patrick Harris…but not Stamos! I bet that gets rectified soon!
By the way, Stamos also names his favorite Walt Disney World restaurant as Hollywood Brown Derby. I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that, but it makes perfect sense.
If you’re unfamiliar with Zombies, you must not know anyone under the age of 20. The third film in the series is currently #1 on Disney+’s Trending list.
Meanwhile, the two previous movies are also in the top 15. So, this one franchise comprises 20 percent of the most popular programs on Disney+ right now!
In more alarming news, a Splash Mountain log has sunk yet again!
Someone on Twitter captured a video of cast members pushing guests to safety:
Another splash mountain ride vehicle sinking??? Is this like the 3rd one now? pic.twitter.com/3oJlWDMLHx
— MagicbandManiac (@MagicbandManiac) July 13, 2022
And here’s a follow-up clip with the submerged raft:
so we got out of our boat because it was sinking while we were stuck there and the disney world employee decided to tell us that we should’ve stayed in the boat but it went under as soon as we all stepped out… nice #DisneyWorld #splashmountain #MagicKingdom #disney not okay???? pic.twitter.com/15zMnP1wgX
— sky (@skyelaringrsoll) August 3, 2020
The point here is that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure can’t get here fast enough. This ride desperately needs an overhaul.
Finally, a former Disney cast member has offered some pro tips for your next park visit.
Here’s a USA Today article about maximizing cast member interactions. You should read this one before your next trip to Disney!
One Final Update
After I completed this update, TheWrap published its mid-year scorecard for Silicon Valley CEOs.
I think you must be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but you can find it here.
TheWrap graded Bob Chapek’s performance as a C- and added this hilariously accurate evaluation:
“There’s only so many times someone can say “but he kept the trains running” about Chapek’s performance leading the company through the pandemic and now into a looming recession.”
That’s about as well as anyone could summarize Chapek’s tenure thus far.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Platinum level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!
Feature Photo: Disney