Under the direction and leadership of former Disney CEO Bob Iger, the company went on an impressive buying streak. The number of properties Disney-owned properties expanded at an explosive rate. For those keeping track at home of the Walt Disney Company’s quest for world domination, in addition to Disney branded content, the company owns Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, 20th Century Studios, Hulu, ABC, 21st Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Records, A+E Networks, Searchlight Pictures, National Geographic, Hollywood Pictures, and a whole slew of non-Disney branded hotels in California. That’s…a lot. It seems like, eventually, Disney is going to own everything, so what’s next?
Well, nothing, actually. During his sit down with the Wall Street Journal, current CEO Bob Chapek said, “We have the best creative teams, the best brands, and franchises in the world,” said Chapek, speaking at the WSJ Tech Live 2022 conference Wednesday. “We’re quite happy to have the output level across our channels without having to be a buyer in the open marketplace. At this point, our plan is to have all our content creation self-contained.”
That means they aren’t looking to buy anything new for the foreseeable future. This could be because the company is trying to make up for COVID losses, or it could be that they intend to pour their creative dollars into their in-house streaming network, Disney+.
The latter certainly seems to be the case as Chapek expressed full confidence in Disney+ and its ability to beat out the rest of the competition, saying that “not everybody who’s out in the marketplace today will survive. This is a critical-mass business. Scale is really, really important to be able to thrive.” He believes Disney+ has that scale and will become the ‘must-have’ streaming service even as others around it falter, which he predicts will happen soon.
The CEO also said that Disney was currently in a great position in terms of content creation. After shutdowns and restarts from the pandemic, the company can “finally reach some level of stability in terms of producing content at the right cadence,” according to Chapek, “now we can very thoughtfully plan the amount of content we need for each channel without over producing or under producing.”
As for whether he intends to sell off any of the brands they currently own? Not likely. When specifically asked about ESPN, which activist investor Dan Loeb recently recommended they sell off, Chapek expressed his desire to keep current assets, especially ESPN. “To the sports fan, it is the power brand out there,” Chapek said, adding that “There are dozens of companies that would love to have that.”
Time will tell whether Disney is done acquiring new properties for good or if this is a temporary strategy, but for now, it’s a safe bet that Batman won’t join the House of Mouse any time soon.