In the first earnings report since Bob Iger returned to the Walt Disney Company as CEO, he laid out a future vision for the company that puts streaming at the forefront of their business strategy.
“[Streaming] remains our number one priority,” Iger said. “It is in many respects our future. But we're not going to abandon our linear or traditional platforms while they can still be a benefit to us and our shareholders.”
While they won’t be abandoning linear television any time soon, operating profit from it fell by 16 percent from the previous year. Iger also stated that ESPN eventually shifting from a linear television channel to a streaming-only channel is “inevitable.”
He announced that the company will be restructured into three divisions: Disney Entertainment, which now encompasses all TV and movie projects; ESPN; and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products.
This restructuring will save the company about $5.5 billion but also cut around 7,000 jobs, or four percent of their workforce.
Iger stressed that the immediate future will focus on tightening their belt with a focus on making Disney+ profitable by late 2024. This comes after Disney raised their prices on Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ at the end of last year.
He also suggested that streaming service discounts may be off the table for Disney, too. “In our zeal to go after subscribers, I think we might have gotten a bit too aggressive in terms of our promotion, and we're going to take a look at that,” he said.
As for future projects, Disney announced sequels to Frozen, Zootopia, and a Toy Story sequel that will see Tim Allen return to the role of Buzz Lightyear.