Disney Headlines for October 6th, 2022
While Hurricane Ian dominated the news, The Walt Disney Company also garnered many other headlines. So let’s talk about the significant ones.
The Brief Sling Feud
Do you remember The Dish Network? Or are you familiar with Sling TV, the streaming service?
Over the years, Dish has earned much praise for its exceptional leadership. Frankly, if DirecTV had been run as well, it might be relevant today.
Alas, the era of satellite television has come to an end. Even Sling TV, the more modern service, represents an increasingly outdated business model.
Sling TV is one of the so-called skinny bundle services, which means it’s effectively an internet-based cable service.
Dish owns Sling, and its executives face significant challenges in trying to keep the lights on as cable channels diminish in appeal.
For Sling to remain profitable, Dish must convince customers to maintain their subscriptions. But, simultaneously, the service must keep costs under control.
These days, that’s nigh impossible, as we just learned (again) last Friday.
Sling users suddenly discovered they had lost access to all Disney channels including ESPN.
Watch Sling Fold
The timing of this turn of events proved brutal, as it was one of the best sports weekends in recent memory, at least on paper.
Without ESPN and ABC, Sling users couldn’t watch several events. As you might imagine, that issue puts Dish between a rock and a hard place.
Sling lost the channels because it was temporarily unable to agree to terms with Disney. The latter company allegedly tried to increase its carriage fees by a billion dollars.
That’s what Sling said, which means it’s likely exaggerated by double but also unreasonably high.
Disney played hardball by displaying a screen requesting that Sling viewers contact Dish to express their outrage.
On a seemingly coincidental note, Sling reached a quick agreement with Disney by Sunday.
Now, its users have access to all Disney channels once again…just in time for Monday Night Football.
While that sounds terrific for subscribers, it’ll cost them later. Sling will almost assuredly raise its prices to pay for the higher Disney carriage fees.
When Sling takes this step, it’ll lose even more subscribers, accelerating the death of skinny bundles as a business model. And I say that as a YouTube TV subscriber.
Frankly, Disney holds all the power in all cable rate negotiations, and there’s not much that linear television broadcasters of any kind can do about it.
Think of this situation as the latest flex from Team Chapek.
Buying Power at Disney
Apparently, you CAN buy your way into power at Disney. I say this because activist investor Daniel Loeb has gotten his way.
Loeb has famously butted heads with topics like stock dividends, the future of Disney+, and ownership of ESPN.
Recently, Loeb backed down when CEO Bob Chapek emphasized that Disney wouldn’t sell ESPN for the foreseeable future. And now we know why.
An ally of Loeb, former Meta executive Carolyn Everson, will join Disney’s Board of Directors.
Everson will serve as the eyes and ears for Third Point, Loeb’s investment fund. Her purpose will be to alert Third Point to Disney’s future plans.
The outsider observation here is that Disney has recognized that Loeb causes problems. His opinions carry weight, and he’s not afraid to criticize The Mouse.
So, Disney has apparently informed him of its plans for ESPN and other upcoming projects. Then, the company has asked him to dial back the criticism.
Loeb must have agreed on the condition that Disney gives him more power. In this instance, “power” means a position on the Board of Directors.
Loeb has filled this spot with someone he trusts, Everson. She becomes the 12th member of Disney’s board.
Generally, corporations prefer odd numbers for board members, which explains why Disney had 11 before now.
However, the company must feel comfortable that it could avoid tie votes in the future. After all, everyone should be on the same page now that one of Disney’s most vocal critics has joined forces with Chapek.
Still, this move is unexpected since Loeb has proven so vocal in questioning Disney’s direction during the Disney+ era.
Loeb’s streaming goals don’t appear to align with Chapek’s. So, this tenuous compromise should prove fascinating to track.
People need to do a better job of recognizing satire and/or obvious nonsense. I say this because this TikTok somehow went viral:
#greenscreen #disneynews #disneyland #disneyworld #disneyparks #waltdisneyworld #magickingdom #epcot #animalkingdom #disneylandparis #disneystudios #orlando #strollers #banned #fakenews #babylonbee #breakingnews
Somehow, that’s not the problematic part. People believed it! Seriously, several sites had to post articles stating that it wasn’t true. Here’s one.
Let’s say that you still believe it for some reason. Well, please look at the calendar. It’s after October 1st. This. Was. A. Joke!
People have GOT to stop taking stuff on the internet so seriously.
The other big headline this week is that Hocus Pocus 2 is now available on Disney+. It’s been almost a week, and fans are pleased enough.
Nobody would ever argue it’s Casablanca but hey! Not everybody likes Casablanca!
I’m a realist who acknowledges that the first half of Hocus Pocus is terrible. If you love the movie anyway, good for you! It definitely gets better once the Sanderson Sisters start having fun.
The new movie, which I’ll review this week, basically unleashes them from the start. For this reason, critics are much happier about Hocus Pocus 2.
As I type this, the film is right on the cusp of being rated Fresh with a 59 percent score. It needs a 60. The first Hocus Pocus only managed a 38 percent score.
Also, that grade benefits from years of the film becoming a cult classic. When it came out in theaters, well, here are Siskel & Ebert reviewing it:
“There’s nothing funny about this movie,” isn’t a quote you’ll see in the advertising.
So, history has been kind to the Sanderson Sisters after an icy reception in 1993.
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Feature Photo Credit: Disney+