by Ray Keating
August 5, 2020
Will Bob Chapek be more of a content guy than Bob Iger was as CEO of Disney?
I ask this question largely due to a feel I got listening to Chapek on the Disney earnings call yesterday.
Chapek’s excitement about the direct-to-consumer (DTC) future of the company was palpable. In particular, he seemed to get most animated talking about bringing new content to Disney+. As he put it, “new hot tentpole content” is what drives new subscribers.
That was a slightly different emphasis than what we largely heard from Iger since Disney+ was first announced and launched in November. No doubt that Iger recognized and spoke of the importance of new content for Disney+, but Iger also was somewhat cautious about overly emphasizing the importance of new content, usually preferring to reference the vast existing Disney library serving as a foundation for Disney+.
Of course, Iger was right about the Disney library serving as the foundation for Disney+, but Chapek also is correct in understanding that while the existing library will make, and has made, Disney a top streaming player, that library must be expanded significantly in order to generate the excitement needed to push Disney+ into the same category as Netflix.
Chapek highlighted the arrival this fall of both the second season of The Mandalorian and the new The Right Stuff series to Disney+. He also mentioned that Marvel shows are ready to resume production. And we know that other Marvel and Star Wars projects will be coming to Disney+ as well.
While it might just be a stylistic difference between Chapek and Iger, Chapek came across yesterday as a streaming racehorse, anxiously waiting for this pandemic to pass so that the gates can spring open, unleashing his company’s considerable resources on new content. If that’s the case, Disney+ subscribers, and company shareholders, might have reason to be excited about the Chapek era.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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