The coronavirus pandemic shut down two of Disney’s most profitable businesses, theme parks and movie distribution, but a strong showing for its subscription services was enough to restore Wall Street’s faith in the company.
The company’s latest earnings report was full of mixed messages. Disney lost $4.7 billion last quarter alone. The company announced that 60 million subscribers to Disney+ just nine months after the service launched. Disney has about 100 million subscribers when the company’s other streaming services, Hulu and ESPN+, are factored in.
The release of “Mulan” will test the company’s pivot to streaming. The movie, which cost a reported $200 million to produce, will be available to Disney+ subscribers in the United States for a premium price of $29.99.
Disney’s competitor NBCUniversal is also in a state of flux. Following the departure of top executive Paul Telegdy, the company is seeking to reorganize how it distributes television shows. In the past, NBC usually sought to expand its brands internally, rather than move them to another show. For example, when USA Network aired “Mr. Robot,” they decided to expand USA’s brand to include the show.
Jeff Shell at NBCUniversal is now taking a different approach, drawing inspiration from how streaming services like Netflix develop their content. The company will develop shows and movies first, then determine where they will go, including NBC, Bravo, or their streaming service Peacock.