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Iger’s Move Likened to Providing Nuclear Weapons to Third-World Nations

Walt Disney Company founder Walt Disney and Disney CEO Bob Iger standing separately with a blended Disney licensing content-themed background including the Cinderella castle and Disney+ logo.
Edited by Disney Dining

Disney CEO Bob Iger has officially flipped the switch on something he once insisted he would never do.

When you’re the chief executive officer of one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, every decision you make is an important one. The stakes of each decision are sizeable, and the consequences if things go wrong can be catastrophic.

Simply put, Bob Iger’s job is not easy by any means. The Walt Disney Company CEO is accountable and needs to deliver to shareholders, fans, and the board of directors alike. Among his many jobs, one of his main tasks is ensuring the protection of the Disney brand and its IP.

Bob Iger called Extremist

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: Disney

On May 7, 2024, The Walt Disney Company had its earnings call wherein Mr. Iger shared the current state of the company and also added the projections for the immediate future of the company’s various operations.

For example, Mr. Iger shared that Marvel Studios would be cutting down their production to two to three movies a year and reducing the number of shows and series to two a year as well.

While sharing this, Mr. Iger surprised some by letting them know the company was looking into more licensing deals wherein it would allow other platforms to stream or share its content. This is unimaginable to many considering how protective Disney has been of its IP and content in the past.

In fact, the Disney CEO once even went so far as to call the action of licensing content the equivalent of “selling nuclear weapons technology to a Third World country, and now they’re using it against us.”

disney plus content

Disney+ is Disney’s premier streaming service / Credit: Disney

However, now, he’s changed his tune. And he shared as much during the May 7 earnings call.

“We’re already doing some licensing with Netflix, and we’re looking selectively at other possibilities. I don’t want to declare that it’s a direction we’ll go more aggressively or not. But we certainly are taking a look at it and being expansive in our thinking about it,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said.

Netflix

Credit: Netflix

“We had previously thought that exclusivity, meaning our own product and our own platforms, had huge value. It definitely does have some value. But we’re also watching as some studios have licensed content to third-party streamers, and that then creates more traction, more awareness.” Mr. Iger continued.

“And the fact increases not only the value of the content from a financial perspective but just in terms of traction. So we’re looking at it with an open mind, but I don’t think you should expect that we’ll do a significant amount of it,” he added.

This strategy shift also comes on the back of the company finally nearing profitability in its streaming sector. The combined DTC businesses of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ only lost $18 million last quarter. (If one chooses to remove ESPN+ from the equation, then the numbers look even better with the entertainment streaming business bringing in a revenue of $6.2 billion.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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