Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE:DIS) shares have been languishing at depressed levels as the entertainment giant grapples with economic and industry-specific challenges.
Following the release of fourth-quarter results, Disney veteran Bob Iger, who was brought back to helm the company amid trying times, outlined four building blocks that can help reinvigorate growth.
Speaking at Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Iger said the four building blocks for the company would be “Parks and Resorts,” Studio, ESPN, and streaming.
“While we still have work to do to continue improving results, our progress has allowed us to move beyond this period of fixing and begin building our businesses again,” said Iger.
Iger said the company is focused on achieving significant and sustained profitability in the streaming business, building ESPN into the preeminent digital sports platform, improving the output and economics of film studios, and turbocharging growth in the experiences business.
The recent announcement concerning the purchasing of the remaining stake in Hulu and the upward adjustment of Disney+ premium prices will help turn streaming into a growth business, he said. The churn was very minimal amid the price hike, he added.
“We remain on track to roll out a more unified one-app experience domestically, making extensive general entertainment content available to bundle subscribers via Disney+,” said Iger.” Hulu on Disney+ will result in increased engagement, greater advertising opportunities, lower churn, and reduced customer acquisition costs.”
The company hopes to launch a beta version for bundled subscribers in December ahead of an official launch in early Spring 2024.
Disney is also looking at implementing stronger standards around account sharing. The streaming business reported a narrower loss for the fourth quarter. Iger said on the call the business remains on track to hit profitability by the fourth quarter of 2024.
Disney is exploring strategic partnerships for ESPN to help transform into a preeminent digital sports platform.
“This fiscal year also saw the network deliver its best overall viewership in four years and its highest viewership in the key 18 to 49 demographic in the same time period,” said Iger.
He also noted the launch of ESPN Bet in partnership with PENN Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN).
Iger acknowledged the need for strengthening the creative output of film studios, which generates value throughout the entire company.
“To achieve this, we are focusing heavily on the core brands and franchises that fuel all of our businesses and reducing output overall to enable us to concentrate on fewer projects and improve quality, while continuing our effort around the creation of fresh and compelling original IP,” said Iger “Overall, the segment remains a growth story.”
The executive reaffirmed the previously disclosed plan to turbocharge growth in the experiences business through strategic investments over the next decade.
“Given our wealth of IP innovative technology, buildable land, unmatched creativity, and strong returns on invested capital, we’re confident about the potential of our new investments,” said the Disney CEO in a further statement. “We’re on track to achieve roughly $7.5 billion in cost reductions, which is approximately $2 billion more than we targeted earlier this year.”
Produced in association with Benzinga
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