The coronavirus pushes Disney to offer its content directly in streaming without going through cinema releases, like “Mulan”, which will be available exclusively on its platform.
Thanks to the pandemic, Disney has found the chosen one of its heart: direct streaming of content to consumers, already a priority before the health crisis, is now the subject of all its attentions.
The Disney + platform, which reached 60.5 million subscribers on Monday, will host the film “Mulan” exclusively for now, after its theatrical release has been repeatedly delayed and now postponed indefinitely.
The service reached its minimum target in terms of subscribers 4 years ahead of schedule.
In all, Disney now has 100 million paying subscribers for its platforms (Disney +, ESPN + and Hulu), thanks to its abundant catalogs and the Star Wars universe, but also to the Great Containment.
And it’s not over: the Californian group announced on Tuesday the launch for 2021 of a new streaming service, under the Star brand, which it acquired from Fox.
The new platform will feature content that Disney already owns, including ABC Studios, Fox Television, FX, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight. It will be fully integrated with Disney + in many markets.
From April to June, only Disney’s streaming services branch achieved higher revenue than the same period a year ago: nearly $ 4 billion, compared to $ 3.9 billion in 2019.
Activity in amusement parks, cruises, events and related products plunged 85% to $ 983 million.
In total, Disney made $ 11.8 billion in revenue, half as much as a year ago, and ended up with a net loss of $ 4.7 billion in the third quarter of its staggered fiscal year, up from nearly of $ 2 billion in net profit last year.
Its title however appreciated by more than 5% during electronic exchanges after the closing of the Stock Exchange.
The market takes into account the group’s good outlook on the streaming side, but also its adjusted earnings per share, which is positive at 8 cents per share, taking into account a charge of $ 3.5 billion for losses linked to the pandemic.
This load corresponds to the negative impact of the new coronavirus on physical activities (parks, cruises, etc.).
In other sectors, the loss of income is partly offset by the drop in production costs, as filming and travel are at a standstill.
“Covid has struck again”
But the pandemic will continue to weigh heavily on the group’s income.
When parks announced their reopening, especially in Shanghai, Paris, Orlando (Florida), “we had more demand than what the social distancing instructions allow us”, told Disney boss Bob Chapek at a conference telephone with analysts.
“Then, unfortunately, the Covid struck again,” he continued, referring to the resurgence of contaminations, especially in the south and west of the United States. “We had a higher than expected level of cancellations.”
Results for the current quarter are expected to suffer from “disrupted conditions in distribution”, with many stores still closed or infrequently visited, and the year-over-year comparison “with (very good) sales of Frozen and Star Wars merchandise. last year, ”said Christine McCarthy, the company’s chief financial officer.
After having saved on the production of new films, Disney will also have to deal with higher costs to ensure the safety of the filming which resumes.
Bob Chapek nevertheless declared himself “as optimistic as possible” for the rest of the year: “We have of course“ The Mandalorian 2 ”(the Star Wars series produced by Disney +, editor’s note), which we announced for October, and also a slew of Marvel content that is coming and that we look forward to ”.