Welcome to DisneyBizJournal.com - News, Analysis and Reviews of the Disney Entertainment Business!

Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving to All DisneyBizJournal Readers!

 by Beth Keating

Lifestyle/News

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 24, 2022

 

At our house, we are a divided family when it comes to the holidays. A few family members have been playing Christmas music since late October, while others do not consider the Christmas season ushered in until Santa makes his way to Herald Square at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.  Then, it is permissible to start putting the tree up.

 

However, as a Disney family, it takes some adjusting to the fact that the “Disney Holiday Schedule” is a few beats off from the rest of the world.  Halloween starts in August, Mickey’s Christmas parties have been firing off for several weeks now, towering trees and snowflakes have graced the parks since November 1st… you get the idea.  In the past few weeks, the holiday gingerbread displays have also begun assembling.



We’ve enjoyed the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian in past years, and the themed carousal at Beach Club is always fun, but this year we were especially impressed by the gingerbread building at the BoardWalk Inn.  The BoardWalk display had been missing for several years, and in addition to being glad to see it back, we offer up a hearty round of applause to the culinary team who created the new confection.  It is incredibly detailed!

 

The gingerbread building is a replica of the Resort’s newest restaurant, the BoardWalk Deli

 

A large window allows a peek into the deli, with Chefs Mickey and Minnie hard at work on teeny tiny little samples of the BoardWalk Deli’s menu offerings in a kitchen so sculpted that the itty bitty appliances and cooking utensils seem ready to start baking.  The petite dishes lined up on the deli counters are adorable, and we particularly got a chuckle out of the miniature Mickey Ear cakes lined up on a bakery shelf. (Not saying that we’ve ordered those cakes for family birthdays in the past or anything…) 

 

Outside the “building,” the deli’s red striped awnings overlook tiny Christmas trees and a selection of benches, tables and chairs for hungry guests to enjoy Chef Mickey’s culinary treats. There are even miniature ornaments on the trees!  Talk about attention to detail!

 

Like many of the gingerbread spots on Disney property, there’s a pop-up shop to purchase some yummy gingerbread goodies and other treats and libations (and themed holiday merch, including BoardWalk ornaments and collectible pins, as well).



Just outside this enormous gingerbread construct is a sign that lists all the hard work and sweet ingredients that went into baking this beauty, with 200 hours of decorating time by the bakery “elves.” In all,  21 gallons of honey, 182 pounds of whole wheat rye flour, 182 pounds of light rye flour, 168 pounds of bread flour, 168 eggs, 3 gallons of egg whites, 30 pounds of powdered sugar, 0.5 pound of Cream of Tartar, 140 pounds of granulated sugar, 20 pounds of fondant, 5 pounds of ammonium carbonate, 10.58 pounds of Lebkuchen, a “heaping teaspoon of magic,” and “a sprinkle of pixie dust” went into this enormous replica.


And if you have the time, you’ll find 26 different hidden Mickeys throughout the gingerbread.  It could be a nice Thanksgiving… or Christmas… scavenger hunt for your family.

 

_______________

 

Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Disney To Air Holiday Special On November 27

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 23, 2022

 

As you recover from the food fest that is Thanksgiving, you and your family will be able to enjoy Disney’s annual “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration.” It airs this Sunday, November 27, 2022 from 8:00 p.m.-10 p.m. (eastern time), or stream it the next day on Hulu and Disney+.



If you’ve visited the Disney parks in the past few weeks, you might have been able to catch a glimpse of some of the celebrities recording their performances ahead of the big special.  The segments were filmed at Walt Disney Resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California, and, for the first time, on board the Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish.

 

The performances will incorporate a mix of holiday classics as well as popular hits, and will also sneak in a promo for Avatar: The Way of Water, coming to theaters on December 16, 2022. A bevy of guests will also chat about some of their own family holiday traditions.

 

Brother-sister duo Derek and Julianne Hough of “Dancing With the Stars” fame (among other Disney productions) will return as hosts of the event, which will include musical numbers from a dozen other entertainers, including a performance by Trevor Jackson from “grown-ish” onboard the Disney Wish.


“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” will bring additional numbers from the following stars:

 

  • Derek Hough and Julianne Hough – “Such a Night,” “My Favorite Things,” “I Gotta Feeling” medley
  • Becky G – “Frosty The Snowman” and “What Christmas Means to Me” with Chloe Flower and Ne-Yo
  • Black Eyed Peas – “A Cold Christmas” and “I Gotta Feeling”
  • Chloe Flower – “Carol of the Bells” and “What Christmas Means to Me” with Ne-Yo andBecky G
  • David Foster and Katharine McPhee – “Jingle Bell Rock”
  • Il Volo – “Adeste Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful)”
  • Jordin Sparks – “Trapmas Medley”
  • Maren Morris – “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
  • Meghan Trainor – “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Made You Look” medley
  • Ne-Yo – “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and “What Christmas Means to Me” with Chloe Flower and Becky G
  • Run DMC – “Christmas in Hollis”

 

You can also tune in to the “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” on December 25, 2022, from 10 a.m.-noon (eastern time) on ABC (or stream live on Hulu to all subscribers), where many of the same artists will offer up Christmas Day performances, in addition to the beloved annual parade featuring a float with Santa himself.

 

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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Disney Shocker: The Firing of Chapek and Return of Iger

 by Ray Keating

News/ Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 20, 2022

 

Disney supposedly is the company that makes dreams come true. Well, for all those diehard Disney fans, for unhappy shareholders, and for CNBC’s Jim Cramer, the Walt Disney Company has created some magic by doing the unthinkable. Not only has the board fired Bob Chapek as CEO tonight, but they are bringing back Bob Iger, former chairman and CEO, to run the House of Mouse.



Iger, who was CEO for 15 years (2005 to 2020), according to Disney, has been given a two-year contract, “with a mandate from the Board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth and to work closely with the Board in developing a successor to lead the Company at the completion of his term.”

 

The market eventually will decide if this was an act of desperation, or a timely decision to cut its losses with Chapek. DisneyBizJournal recently raised questions regarding Chapek possessing the skillset needed to lead a company like Disney (see here). Either way, the process of developing a successor didn’t work the last time with Iger. We’ll have to see if the second time is the charm. By the way, CNBC's Jim Cramer was publicly calling for Chapek to be dumped.

 

Susan Arnold, chairman of the board, said, “We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide—all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership.” 

 

Iger declared, “I am extremely optimistic for the future of this great company and thrilled to be asked by the Board to return as its CEO. Disney and its incomparable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the globe – most especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration. I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling.”

 

The hope obviously is that Iger will be able to put out assorted fires that Chapek either started or seemed clueless in handling. The Disney board is expecting that his experience with the company will allow Iger to right the ship, and set the company up with the right person going forward. At the same time, some have to be wondering about the board’s inability to get beyond Iger.

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? Also, Keating is a Disney shareholder.

 

Ray Keating is the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Just published is Persecution: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Keating says, “I think Persecution might be the most action-packed of any of the Pastor Stephen Grant books so far.”

Signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/persecution  

Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHHJNNB4

 

Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here

 

Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Disney Cruise Line Acquires “Global Dream”

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 18, 2022

 

Disney cruise fans all seem to have their favorite ship in Disney’s fleet, but they will soon have an even bigger ship to choose from. The Disney Cruise Line has announced that it will acquire the unfinished Global Dream cruise ship, bringing their future fleet to a total of eight ships.

 

The 208,000-gross-ton Global Dream has been under construction in Germany since 2018, and was being built for Genting Hong Kong (Dream Cruises), which filed for bankruptcy, forcing a court-ordered sale of its assets, including the Global Dream. According to Disney, they were then able to acquire the ship “at a favorable price.”


Source: Disney Cruise Line website


The Global Dream’s capacity is about 9,000 passengers, but Disney Cruise Line plans for a maximum capacity of about 6,000 guests along with 2,300 crew members.  Current Disney ships clock in at 4,000 guests or under, with the newest ship, Disney Wish (2022), at 1,254 staterooms for a 4,000-passenger capacity and 1,555 person crew.  Disney Magic (1998), the first ship in the fleet, was only 875 staterooms with a 2,713-passenger capacity and 950 person crew. The Disney Wonder (1999) had the same capacity as Disney Magic, and both the Disney Dream (2011) and Disney Fantasy (2012) have 1,250 staterooms for a 4,000-passenger capacity and 1,458 person crew. 

 

The Meyer Werft shipyard in Wismar, Germany, which built the Disney Wish, Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, will continue construction on the Global Dream, which will be renamed as part of Disney’s fleet.  While the Global Dream is slated to take to the high seas in 2025, Disney is also expecting to receive delivery of the Disney Treasure in 2024.  The Treasure is the sister ship to the recently launched Disney Wish.  A third Trident Class ship for Disney’s fleet will head to the water in 2025 under a yet-to-be announced name, before bringing the Global Dream to the team. 

  

Global Dream will be based outside the United States, but its itinerary has not yet been announced. However, Disney Cruise Line plans to bring the ship to “new global destinations.” Disney has also indicated that the new ship will run on green methanol, one of the first in the cruise industry to use the low-emission fuel. 

_______________

 

Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Disneyland Resort Resumes Selling Three of the Four Magic Key Annual Passes

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 17, 2022

 

(Update, November 18, 2022: One day after announcing that three of four Disneyland Magic Key annual passes went back on sale, Disney announced that those sales were stopped.)

 

Run – don’t walk – if you’ve been waiting to purchase annual passes to Disneyland’s theme parks in California. Three of the four Magic Key annual passes went back on sale yesterday, via either the Disneyland app or the Disneyland website, and one never knows when those sales will again come to an abrupt halt, as they did back in the spring. The last of the passes ceased sales in May, with the higher tiers unavailable since fall of 2021.



Disney warns that passes or certain pass types are subject to limited availability, so if you were planning on getting those passes as Christmas gifts, or heading to the parks for a 2023 vacation, get on your computer quickly. 

 

After a six-month drought, the passes are returning at the same prices they were previously offered. The only pass not currently for sale is the Enchant pass; however, those holding existing Enchant keys will be able to renew them as long as they renew BEFORE their passes expire.  

 

Magic Key prices are:

 

• Inspire: $1,599

• Believe: $1,099

• Enchant: $699 (only for renewals)

• Imagine: $449 (however, they are available to Southern California residents in certain zip codes only)

 

Each pass comes with its own set of block out dates, as well as differing “perks” per level, including varying numbers of reservations that can be held at one time; differing discounts on food and merchandise;  and varying inclusions on parking, PhotoPass offers, and Genie+ discounts.

 

Because of high demand, Disney has established a virtual queue for purchasing the Magic Keys; as of the writing of this article this morning, the wait time in the queue was estimated to be more than an hour before entering the actual purchase link.

 

Could the availability of the Magic Keys have something to do with Disney’s poor showing at last week’s Q4 earnings report?  With inflation looming, dips in stock prices, and news of layoffs and hiring freezes, Disney may be realizing they need the influx of cash from those annual pass holders after all.  There’s been no word yet as to whether annual pass sales will resume at Disney World in Florida.

 

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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Recent Disney News in Perspective: Earnings, the Cramer Rant, and the Chapek Cost Memo

 by Ray Keating

Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 13, 2022

 

The Walt Disney Company was in the news a great deal last week, and none of it was the type of news that pleases shareholders. At the same time, the realities, reports and reactions need to be put into proper perspective.



First, there was Disney’s disappointing earnings announcement for the fourth quarter 2022. The bottom line is that both earnings and revenues fell short of market expectations, and the Disney stock price was punished as a result. 

 

However, assorted talking heads and analysts focused on the losses at Disney+. That’s interesting because there really wasn’t anything all that new there. Disney noted that the fourth quarter loss for Disney+ would be the peak loss, followed by declining shortfalls, and then reaching profitability at some point in 2024. That all lined up with what the company reported previously. The only real difference was a warning that unforeseen economic woes could affect this scenario. That’s just common sense, and should have surprised no one.

 

Second, CNBC’s Jim Cramer called for the firing of Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Cramer has become a cartoonish character on a financial news network. So, do what you will with his Chapek call. At the same time, however, Cramer brings attention to an issue that is increasingly under serious consideration. Chapek obviously was dealt a brutal hand as former Disney CEO Bob Iger suddenly retired just before COVID-19 struck in the U.S. Indeed, though it has not received much attention, given Iger’s on-again-off-again retirement dance before that, one has to wonder if he had some vague idea of what was coming, given what already had been going on COVID-related beyond the U.S. at that point, and simply didn’t want to be in the CEO seat to deal with it. Having said all of this, two years and nine months into Chapek’s reign, it’s hard to find anything to give him a thumbs-up on as time passes. 



Most glaring, the CEO of Disney requires a public touch and a creative vision that do not seem to be in Chapek’s skillset.

 

Third, and finally, there’s the Chapek costs memo that was widely reported on on November 11. Let’s put aside the hyperbole shooting around the internet, and look at five key points that are actually in the memo that Chapek sent to top management.

 

• “I have established a cost structure taskforce of executive officers: our CFO, Christine McCarthy and General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez. Along with me, this team will make the critical big picture decisions necessary to achieve our objectives.”

 

• “First, we have undertaken a rigorous review of the company’s content and marketing spending working with our content leaders and their teams. While we will not sacrifice quality or the strength of our unrivaled synergy machine, we must ensure our investments are both efficient and come with tangible benefits to both audiences and the company.”

 

• “Second, we are limiting headcount additions through a targeted hiring freeze. Hiring for the small subset of the most critical, business-driving positions will continue, but all other roles are on hold.”

 

• “Third, we are reviewing our SG&A [i.e., selling, general and administrative] costs and have determined that there is room for improved efficiency—as well as an opportunity to transform the organization to be more nimble. The taskforce will drive this work in partnership with segment teams to achieve both savings and organizational enhancements. As we work through this evaluation process, we will look at every avenue of operations and labor to find savings, and we do anticipate some staff reductions as part of this review.”

 

• “Our transformation is designed to ensure we thrive not just today, but well into the future—and you will hear more from our taskforce in the weeks and months ahead. I am fully aware this will be a difficult process for many of you and your teams. We are going to have to make tough and uncomfortable decisions. But that is just what leadership requires, and I thank you in advance for stepping up during this important time.”

 

These agenda items are far from what’s been said about the memo online. In fact, this is pretty standard stuff for large companies. 

 

No matter how good the management system, the sheer size of a company like Disney, for example, with some 190,000 employees, requires periodic evaluations of costs, and reining them in. Add in a poor economy – in particular, the current stagflation, that is, high inflation combined with recession or slow growth, and future uncertainties – and the reasons for such a review mount. 

 

At the same time, the question whenever such an endeavor is undertaken is: How will this affect the quality of the product? Chapek is right that such an effort should make the company “more efficient and nimble,” and “not sacrifice quality.” But there’s more. Quality and innovation must continue, even as costs are being evaluated and reduced. That will be critical for streaming, the parks, resorts, the cruise line, and so on. 

 

Make no mistake, creativity and innovation tend to thrive at smaller, entrepreneurial firms, while these critical activities become bigger and bigger challenges for large, long-established businesses. At nearly 100 years old, Disney has earned praise for doing so throughout much of its existence. But there have been times when creativity and innovation suffered at Disney, and there are no guarantees going forward.

 

Once again, serious questions and doubts now stand out as to whether or not Bob Chapek is up for handling all of this. Namely, is Chapek the right person to rein in costs while spurring creativity and innovation, and improving quality? Well, we know what Jim Cramer thinks.

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? Also, Keating is a Disney shareholder.

 

Ray Keating is the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Just published is Persecution: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Keating says, “I think Persecution might be the most action-packed of any of the Pastor Stephen Grant books so far.”

Signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/persecution  

Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHHJNNB4

 

Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here

 

Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Unexpected Ambience at Maya Grill

 by Beth Keating

Review

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 9, 2022

 

We’ve eaten at most of the dining establishments at Disney World’s Coronado Springs over the years. Coronado, despite its high incidence of convention attendees and a more business-like appearance, has always been one of our favorite resorts, even though it really lacks any overt “Disney theming.”  Rather, it has a more subdued atmosphere, with soft music playing throughout the resort, and gorgeous southwestern colors everywhere, from the muted desert tones of the Casitas and Rancho buildings, to the jeweled tones of the newer Gran Destino Tower. The sizable center lake, “Lago Dorado,” also adds to the charm and peacefulness of the Resort.



The one restaurant we hadn’t visited yet was the Maya Grill, a “grand Mexican dining room featuring ancient-modern styling and Nuevo Latino cuisines.”  With the enticing sunset water views of Coronado’s Three Bridges Bar & Grill a stroll away, we just hadn’t made it over to Maya Grill before COVID closures, and sadly, Maya took a while to reopen.

 

The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, with terra cotta colored walls, southwestern theming that gives a “pyramid” kind of vibe, fire and sun motifs, and grand columns soaring to the ceiling.  The restaurant is a good size, but feels “homey” because the dining areas are sectioned off into smaller “room” type groupings. 

 

An unexpected bonus was the live guitar music during our meal.  The musician was really good, and we didn’t realize initially that the music was live until the guitar player strolled around the corner toward our little section of the dining room.  He shared a mix of popular and Disney tunes while walking around, even singing birthday greetings to guests at a nearby table.



Maya Grill’s menu leans Tex-Mex, and has a plethora of unique cocktails and specialty drinks, including, of course, a selection of tequilas.  For our appetizer, we went with the Empanada de Barbacoa ($15.00), a serving of two empanadas filled with Barbacoa beef, and topped with Ranchero sauce, Mexican crema and Cotija cheese.  A side of street corn relish accompanied the empanadas.  The empanadas were warm and fresh, just a bit of a bite from the Barbacoa, which was delicious, and the empanada dough was firm rather than flaky. The little crescents were not in the least bit greasy, which sometimes happens with fried dough.  They were just the right size for an appetizer, a smidge bigger than bite-sized, but not too large to interfere with the main course.  They were just shy of “crunchy” (but in a good way), and the Ranchero sauce alternated with the coolness of the crema.

 

For our entrées, we chose the Traditional Taco Salad ($18.75) and the Baja Fish Tacos ($25.00). 



The taco salad was served in an edible crispy tortilla shell, filled with greens, nacho beef, Monterey Jack cheese, bell peppers, black olives, Mexican crema, and a lovely avocado dressing.  It was an excellent salad, if somewhat lacking in dimension.  There wasn’t much variety to the salad, as it was primarily greens with a layer of spiced meat and dressing. The taco meat had a hint of a kick, but still gentle enough for those who might be spice adverse. After digging down into the salad, we discovered the black olives hiding on a bottom layer, and two lone strips of red peppers. The olives added a nice, salty component, and gave the salad a bit of earthiness. After reading the salad description when we got home, though, we wondered if parts of the salad had been left out of our assembly, since the ingredients list also claimed “avocado and pico de gallo,” which definitely didn’t make an appearance in our salad.  That being said, we would order this salad again, but it would be improved with a touch more variety, maybe something along the order of black beans? Of course, if the few ingredients were indeed missing from our salad, that could have changed the depth of the flavor, too. The tortilla bowl itself was freshly made, warm and not at all oily, and made for a nice crunch along with the greens.



The Baja Fish Tacos were a big hit.  Incredibly soft tortillas were filled with Tempura battered cod that was light and tender, with a crunchy outer breading. The rest of the taco was filled out with shredded cabbage, and a Chipotle lime aioli and pineapple relish that gave a nice sweet and spicy mix to the sauces.  The lime brightened the dish, and the fruit accompaniment in the tacos created a great flavor mix with each bite.  The Esquites that accompanied the tacos was a unique side dish, a bit crumbly, yet with a smooth flavor that was, at the same time, sweet yet tangy.  

 

We finished off our meal with a fun choice, the Fried Baby Churros ($10.00).  The tiny little bite sized churros were served warm and crispy (without being either too hard or too soggy), and had a high quality vanilla ice cream melting its way into the crevices of the churros.  The combination of the warm churro and melty ice cream, along with caramel dulce sauce drizzled over the top, was a yummy combination.  Strong and comforting cinnamon tones were a nice end to dinner.  



We’re sorry to say that we simply waited too long to visit this restaurant, tucked away down the end of a hallway at Coronado.  Most guests may not even realize it’s there. Between the excellent food, the delightful music and warm ambiance, and an attentive and friendly cast member as our waitress, we had a great experience, and will definitely be back to visit again.

 

_______________

 

Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Disney+ Subscribers Beat Expectations While Company Earnings Fell Short

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

November 8, 2022

 

Today, the Walt Disney Company reported its full year and fourth quarter earnings (ending on October 1), and it was a mixed story.

 

First, for the fourth quarter, diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter decreased to $0.30 from $0.37 in the prior year quarter, and that $0.30 compared to market expectations of $0.55.



Second, revenues for the quarter registered $20.15 billion. That was up by 9 percent compared to the same quarter last year, but also came up short versus market expectations for $21.24 billion.

 

Third, for the year, however, diluted EPS increased to $3.53 from $2.29 in the prior year.

 

Fourth, on the direct-to-consumer (DTC) front, Disney+ subscribers came in at 164.2 million, versus market expectations of 160.45 million, and compared to 118.1 last year. Hulu total subscribers registered 47.2 million versus 43.8 million last year. And ESPN+ subscribers came in at 24.3 million versus 17.1 million last year. Therefore, total Disney streaming subscribers registered 235.7 million at the close of fiscal year 2022, compared to 230.6 million at the end of the third quarter and 179 million last year.

 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek pointed out, “Our fourth quarter saw strong subscription growth with the addition of 14.6 million total subscriptions, including 12.1 million Disney+ subscribers.”

 

Regarding DTC profitability, Chapek reiterated, “We expect our DTC operating losses to narrow going forward and that Disney+ will still achieve profitability in fiscal 2024.” However, he added, “assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate.”

 

Fifth, regarding the Parks, Experiences and Products segment, it was reported, “Disney Parks, Experiences and Products revenues for the quarter increased to $7.4 billion compared to $5.5 billion in the prior-year quarter. Segment operating income increased $0.9 billion to $1.5 billion compared to $0.6 billion in the prior-year quarter. Higher operating results for the quarter reflected increases at our domestic and international parks and experiences businesses and, to a lesser extent, our merchandise licensing business.” Chapek called this “record results at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment.”

 

The bottom line is that Disney beat expectations on DTC subscribers, and DTC losses are now expected to decline from this point forward, pointing to profitability in 2024 (again, if the economy cooperates). But the company came up short on fourth quarter earnings versus expectations. 

 

At the time of this writing, Disney stock was off nearly 10 percent after market on November 8, and had hit a 52-week low.

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? 

 

Ray Keating is the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Just published is Persecution: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Keating says, “I think Persecution might be the most action-packed of any of the Pastor Stephen Grant books so far.”

Signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/persecution  

Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHHJNNB4

 

Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here

 

Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.