During the 2023 third quarter earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Disney+ would be rolling out new policies to combat password-sharing in the year 2024. No details have been announced just yet, though it may be similar to new practices at Netflix introduced earlier in 2023.
Direct-to-consumer revenues have increased 9% while the operating loss has almost broken even in the third quarter of 2023. Disney+ subscribers have dropped to 146.1 million, below the 154.8 million goal, though core members of the service rose by 1%
Direct-to-Consumer revenues for the quarter increased 9% to $5.5 billion and operating loss decreased to $0.5 billion from a loss of $1.1 billion. The decrease in operating loss was due to a lower loss at Disney+, higher operating income at Hulu and a lower loss at ESPN+. 4 The improvement at Disney+ was due to higher subscription revenue and a decrease in marketing costs, partially offset by higher programming and production costs and lower advertising revenue. Higher subscription revenue was attributable to Disney+ Core subscriber growth and increases in Disney+ Core retail pricing. The increase in programming and production costs was due to higher costs for non-sports content, partially offset by a decrease in sports programming costs. The decreases in sports programming costs and advertising revenue reflected the comparison to IPL cricket programming in the prior-year quarter, as we did not renew the digital rights beginning with the 2023 season. Higher costs for non-sports content were due to more content provided on the service.
Iger sees a crackdown on password-sharing as one of many tactics to improve financial performance for the Disney+ platform. Netflix already began this practice earlier in 2023, sending emails to anyone who is sharing a password “outside of the household.”
There has certainly been tumult in the third quarter, with dramatic shifts and disappointing performances at the box office impacting Disney as a whole. CFO Christine McCarthy stepped down from her position while Iger’s public perception was damaged after calling demands from striking actors and writers “not realistic.” This quarter’s earnings call is the first without the former CFO.
While “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and “Haunted Mansion” have not been financially stellar, other films such as “Elemental” have made a surprise comeback — while Iger has also discussed opportunities to “turbocharge” theme park growth.
Rumors continue to circulate that Apple might eventually acquire Disney, though Iger has denied this at various points while also admitting he is considering the sale of various media assets.
In Florida, there’s an ongoing legal battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the governance of the area in which Walt Disney World is located, though Iger and the company are continuing to pursue the matter in court, with the CEO himself stating it is “not our goal to be engaged in a culture war.”
Previously, The Walt Disney Company announced approximately $21.8 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2023. Their adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.93, a decrease from $1.08 in last year’s quarter. This was for the period of January 1 to April 1, 2023. Disney Parks reported $7.78 billion in revenue during quarter two and Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers (but the financial performance of streaming did improve, as Iger said).
Throughout the second quarter, and continuing until the end of May, Disney completed three major rounds of layoffs in an aim to cut coasts within their media operations.
CEO Bob Iger has extended his return as leader of the company through 2026 and brought back former colleagues Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs to advise on television strategy moving forward. In a recent major upheaval of their TV properties, ESPN will now be launching a sportsbook with PENN Entertainment, officially becoming a major player in legal sports betting.
Here’s a selection of major stories from today’s earnings call compiled below:
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Originally from Los Angeles and Honolulu, Jonathan is a fan of cinema and theme parks who grew up on the original California Disneyland, and nurtures a particular admiration in Orlando for EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. His favorite resort on Earth would be Disneyland Paris, which doesn’t seem to get the full admiration it deserves. You can find him in the Hufflepuff Common Room by the kitchens at jonathan.dought[email protected].
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