Disney has been suffering lately. For so many years they were a darling of the media and entertainment landscape. Their theme parks were full, their stock was reliable, their output had a stamp of quality. They had seemingly unlocked the secret sauce via Marvel Studios, Disney+ was a hit. Even the largely useless Lucasfilm was still making money.
Things have gone wrong. Earnings have fallen, Lucasfilm are still unable to launch a movie based on their most valuable IP. Marvel’s magic touch has seemingly deserted it, and the parks have a runaway pricing policy completely at odds with the declining quality. While reports of broken rides, sloppy maintenance and sub-standard experiences abound, Disney still thinks it is a fully luxury product.
It’s prices have now reached parody levels. $25 a day to park your car there so you can go and spend more money. A no-frills day ticket to Disney World’s The Magic Kingdom will set you back between $124 and $189 per person. Then there is food, fast-passes, souvenirs…
Disney are totally failing to read the room, and this has been reflected in their share price.
Now in a completely shock announcement pushed out last night – on a Sunday – they are pulling a total reversal and Bob Iger has returned as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company effective immediately. Bob Chapek is out. Iger had this to say:
“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.”
Chapek replaced Iger in February 2020. Iger had been in charge for fifteen years and his time as CEO is regarded as a high point in Disney history.
Alongside the financial headwinds, Chapek was in the seat when the situation over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation exploded in Disney’s faces. There was also the high profile arguments with Scarlett Johansson around Black Widow.
In a statement, board chair Susan Arnold says:
“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.”
This is brutally efficient of the board. A swift move straight after a disappointing quarterly earnings report, a stock fall and warnings of revenue struggles to come.
Looks like they could use some of that Star Wars money… if only somebody could put their finger on exactly what the issue is over there at Lucasfilm. The Ankler has published Iger’s message to Disney staff in full, as pushed out at 7:19pm on a Sunday night.
Email from Bob Iger to Disney staff, 7:19 p.m. pic.twitter.com/IiTQvBYYZp
— The Ankler (@TheAnkler) November 21, 2022
Look to the opening bell of the various markets this morning to see if there is an Iger bounce.