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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top 3 Disney Podcasters and YouTubers: Thumbs Up for Lou, AJ and Tim

by Ray Keating
Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
February 19, 2019

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” True enough. But in the 21stCentury broadband universe, I’ll add another certainty: There certainly is no shortage of podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs and vlogs focused on Disney.


This phenomenon is a fascinating combination of technological advancements, entrepreneurship and small business, and entertainment and information services coalescing around one of the largest entertainment businesses on the planet with a massive, diverse, and passionate fan base.

So, as a listener/viewer/fan, how does one sort through all of these podcasters and vloggers? I’m not quite sure, but at the very least I can tell you about the three that have impressed me, so far.

First is WDW Radio with Lou Mongello. Lou excels at podcasting, special events, and live Facebook videos, including a Wednesday night show on Facebook where he talks about seemingly all things Disney. 

Mongello’s podcast topics are wide-ranging, with recent subjects including “Top Ten Things to Do in Walt Disney World When It’s Cold Outside,” “Marvel Day at Sea on Disney Cruise Line Review,” “Mary Poppins Returns Interviews” (including interviews with the movie’s songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, and director Rob Marshall), and “Raglan Road LIVE Restaurant Review.” Lou loves tasting, talking and reviewing all foods related to Disney. In fact, I think there might be a Lou Mongello table at The Boathouse in Disney Springs. 

Mongello also is a big Marvel fan, and, full disclosure, I was fortunate to be a guest on his two-part podcast discussing and ranking the Marvel Universe movies leading up to Avengers: Infinity War(listen to Part Iand Part II.)

In addition, Lou has formed a passionate community around WDW Radio; runs Meets of the Month for face-to-face gatherings; and sponsors trips and cruises. For good measure, he has become a leader in terms of helping people start up and build their businesses, and as an event speaker (check this out at LouMongello.com).

Visit and like the WDW Radio Facebook page.

Second is the Disney Food Blog. AJ Wolfe leads the way for this fantastic endeavor, which has been growing since March 2009. DFB offers both in-depth and quick takes on food and restaurants in the Disney parks and resorts, as well as on the cruises, along with a bunch of other Disney news and tips. The website is jam-packed with handy information, including, for example, explanations and advice on the Disney Dining Plans and the various Disney World festivals(like Epcot Food and Wine), as well as handy guidebooks, such as The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2019.

Where DFB arguably does its best work is the news and reviews presented via its YouTube channel. Among recent topics have been “The Best Times To Go To Disneyland This Year!,” “37 Hidden Secrets in Disney World's Magic Kingdom!,” “The Most Expensive Disney World Snacks” (i.e., the most value on the Disney Dining Plan), “Disney Bathrooms Part II: You've Gotta See These Disney Restrooms,” and “The ULTIMATE Guide to the 2019 Disney Dining Plan.”

DFB ranks among the best because of the combination of valuable information, a fun vibe, professional videos and guides, and AJ’s engaging video presentations.

Visit and like the Disney Food Blog Facebook page.

Third is TheTimTracker. TheTimTracker videos – pretty much posted daily! – offer all kinds of looks at Walt Disney World, as well as takes on the entire Orlando area, including other theme parks, shopping and more. The on-the-scene videos feature Tim, and often his wife, Jenn.

The wide-ranging videos recently have included “Touring The Disney Fantasy! | Disney Cruise Line Ship Tour, Cooking Class At Palo & More!,” “Food, Fun & Friends At Disney's Festival Of The Arts! | Food Reviews & Taste Tests!,” “Looking For Disney Stuff At The Target Behind Disney World!,” and a recent series taking more in-depth looks around Epcot’s World Showcase, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and France.

Watching Tim, along with Jenn, is like tuning in to friends you know who live in the Walt Disney World area. They’re engaging, inquisitive, quippy, information rich without being boring, and excellent with a video camera and editing software. My wife introduced me to TheTimTracker, and mentioning that she’d like to hang out with these people.

Subscribe to TheTimTracker.

In fact, that’s a key part of the success of the best podcasters and vloggers, right? They’re engaging people who know their stuff, and you just feel like you’d appreciate hanging out with them. Lou, AJ, and Tim and Jenn pull that all off quite nicely.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Disney Weekend Links: Interesting Reads and More

News/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
February 16, 2019

Here are a few items worth exploring this weekend focused on the passing of a Disney legend, a look at Bob Iger’s management decisions, and the announcement of Triple Force Friday and Frozen Fan Fest for the same day.


The Passing of a Disney Legend

Dave Smith, who created the Disney archives, died at the age of 78. 

Bob Iger’s Creative Management

Investor’s Business Dailytakes a look at Bob Iger’s management style and decisions that created more magic at Disney.

Triple Force Friday and Frozen Fan Fest on Same Day

Disney has announced that October 4, 2019, will be both Triple Force Friday – with new products marking Star Wars: Episode IX, Disney+ streaming’s The Mandalorian, and the latest gaming title from EA and Respawn, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order– and the Frozen Fan Fest, with new product releases tied to Frozen 2.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Why Are People Baffled by Disney’s Streaming Strategy?

by Ray Keating
Commentary/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
February 12, 2019

Why do some people seem so perplexed by Disney’s online streaming strategy? It’s actually perplexing that they’re so perplexed.

The Walt Disney Company always has been careful about its brand. And considering that the company has been successful for nearly a century now, and has grown into an international, entertainment goliath, their strategy apparently has worked pretty well.

As Disney now goes all in on streaming, they’re going with three services. ESPN+ is for sports. Disney+, due to go live later this year, will be the streaming service for the main Disney brand, if you will, which will be largely family friendly. That doesn’t mean it will be kids’ stuff, just that it, for the most part, will not venture into the realm of R-rated material. 

And then there’s the fact that Disney will own 60 percent of Hulu once the Fox deal is completed, and the company has made it known that it’s open to a deal with AT&T and Comcast to acquire the rest of Hulu. As DisneyBizJournal.com has noted before, it looks like Hulu will be home for Disney’s R or more R-like fare. 

This strategy seemed to be confirmed with Disney’s recent announcement that Hulu would be home to four new adult-oriented Marvel animated shows – Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K, Hit-Monkey, and Tigra and Dazzler.  For good measure, it has been reported by TheWrapthat Hulu is interested in the recently-canceled Marvel shows on Netflix, like “Daredevil” and “Luke Cage.” (This doesn’t surprise DisneyBizJournal.com as noted in our piecefrom November 2018.)

But there are those perplexed folks. For example, Wired’sPeter Rubin penned a piece titled “Disney’s Building Its own Streamer – Why Take Shows to Hulu?” Rubin says that this is “a little weird,” and “that Disney, which owns Marvel, is continuing its shattershot [scattershot?] approach to television adaptations of its comic-book characters.” Rubin added, “But Disney also lost more than $500 million on Hulu last fiscal year, making the choice to create content for that platform rather than Disney+ a head-scratcher.” And later Rubin asks, “Why would it continue to develop shows for networks and platforms it doesn't own outright?” And finally, he argues, while quoting some analysts, that people will be confused by this Disney strategy and won’t buy Disney+.

This “analysis” would be amusing if it weren’t from a notable source like Wired. First, as we’ve already touched on, there’s nothing ad hoc or confusing about Disney’s streaming strategy. It’s actually pretty straightforward. Rubin seems particularly baffled about maintaining a certain Disney brand. Second, creating more content isn’t scattershot, given that a key point of Disney being able to go it alone in the streaming universe is its enormous IP library. Third, since Disney will soon own the majority, controlling interest in Hulu, and perhaps in fact owning Hulu outright at some point soon, why wouldn’t they make investments in the service to make it profitable? 

While we’ll learn more in April when Disney reveals more about its Disney+ plans at an investors day, the company’s streaming strategy is pretty clear. The only real question is: Will Disney be able to get subscribers to sign up for Disney+ and Hulu? That would be even more of a question if Disney was not making the investments that it clearly is in both services.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Friday, February 8, 2019

6 Takeaways on Disney Earnings

News/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
February 8, 2019

The Walt Disney Company served up its latest earnings report on February 5th, and it provided a few key points that Disney watchers, fans and investors should keep in mind. Here are a few takeaways in no particular order.


Takeaway #1: Decline in Earnings, But Beating Expectations.Disney’s earnings per share for its latest quarter (ending on December 29, 2018) declined by 3 percent compared to the previous year’s same quarter ($1.84 vs. $1.89). That actually beat market expectations, however.

Takeaway #2: Domestic Theme Parks and Broadcast Networks Key Positives.The key plusses came from better-than-expected performance among Disney’s broadcast networks, and solid results for Disney’s domestic theme parks and resorts. The company reported, “Operating income growth at our domestic theme parks and resorts was due to increased guest spending and higher occupied room nights. Guest spending growth was due to higher average ticket prices, an increase in food, beverage and merchandise spending and higher average hotel room rates.”

Takeaway #3: Studio Entertainment Revenues and Earnings Off.Studio Entertainment took a hit as movie releases in the quarter didn’t line up well with the same quarter in the previous year. Disney explained: “The decrease in theatrical distribution results was due to the strong performance of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: Ragnarok in the prior-year quarter compared to Mary Poppins Returns and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in the current year. Other significant releases included Ralph Breaks the Internet in the current quarter, while the prior-year quarter included Coco.”

Takeaway #4: Investment Costs for Disney Streaming Service.Direct-to-Consumer & International suffered a loss of $136 million. That was due to investments being made in Disney streaming services, namely, ESPN+ and Disney+, which is due to come on line later this year. Plus, it must be noted that Disney’s costs in the near term not only include dollars being invested in technology and content for Disney+, but also the decline in licensing revenues as shows and movies are pulled in for its own streaming services. Those losses have been estimated at $150 million annually, which Disney obviously expects to not just wipe out but turn into larger revenue generators via its own streaming services.

Takeaway #5: Investment in Parks Grows.Disney’s capital expenditures on parks and resorts grew by 31 percent versus the same quarter in the previous year.

Takeaway #6: Deadpool Will Continue as R-Rated.As MarketWatchand others reported, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger made clear that Deadpoolwould continue as an R-rated venture, and other more adult-oriented properties, such as via the Fox acquisition, will continue, though with Disney being careful with branding.

Finally, on an amusing note, when asked about marketing needs regarding the opening of Star Warsattractions this year, Iger commented, “I think I should just tweet 'It's opening' and that would be enough.”


Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Monday, February 4, 2019

DisneyBizJournal's Daily Dose of Disney


Boost Creativity with Ray Keating's Book/Tool: The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar

Anytime is the right time to get organized, and become more productive and creative. The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar 2019 from Ray Keating is the right tool to help, and the price has been slashed from $27.99 to $19.99.


The thumbs-up keep rolling in. The Lutheran Book Review declares, “This is a desk reference and encourager... Each page has a 2019 date, a quote, and spaces for your daily TO DO list. After the author's introduction of encouragement, there is an Annual TO DO Goal page. Special monthly pages help you keep on task toward your goals. Special weekly pages help you keep track of priorities for each week. I, too, am a realistic optimist. Want encouragement to keep on task in 2019? Get organized and make things happen with Ray Keating's 'The Realistic Optimist TO DO List and Calendar.'"

And Jim Blasingame, host of The Small Business Advocate Radio Show, observes: “It’s a hit around here... I think you’ll like it.”

The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar 2019 offers a simple, systematic combination of long run, weekly and daily TO DO lists that make a real difference in getting things done. For good measure, each page includes a quote from a leader or thinker that in some way reflects being a realistic optimist – providing inspiration, giving pause to think, helping you move ahead, generating a laugh, or eliciting agreement or a roll of the eyes.

A 5-star Amazon review declares, “It's clear and simple to use, not like one of those organizers where you have to practically have a degree in how it works. I started entering things in that I know I have coming up next year, and I'm looking forward to January! I have always thought of myself as a realistic optimist, too, and I'm glad to find this resource.”

And a Facebook reviewer says: “The inspirational quotes are well chosen. All of my to do lists in one place.” Go to

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Disney Super Sunday Links: Interesting Reads and More

News/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
February 2, 2019

Here are a few items worth exploring on this Super Bowl Sunday focused on the outlook for the Disney Plus streaming service; a Disney earnings preview; and a high-dollar, VIP tour of Walt Disney World.

Variety Looks at Disney and It’s Streaming Service

Among the points made in Variety’s latest assessment on Disney and its streaming service is the following: “Wall Street sources say Disney will have to shed light on three key points in pitching the streaming strategy to investors: how much it will spend on content, how much traditional licensing revenue will be lost by keeping more of its content in-house, and when it expects the bottom of that investment cycle to come before a return to growth.”

Disney’s Earnings Report on the Way

Nasdaq.com offers an earnings preview for The Walt Disney Company.

New VIP Tour of Walt Disney World

Are you interested in a high-dollar, VIP tour of Walt Disney World?


Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the three latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Storyand Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

DisneyBizJournal's Daily Dose of Disney