In 2019, between its acquisition of most of the Fox empire including streaming service Hulu, the launch of Disney+, two Marvel releases, and two Star Wars releases, Disney was on top of the world of entertainment. The Disney Company reported even more revenue from its parks—more than $26 billion in fiscal 2019.
Now, in August 2020, the Disney Company has reported that the second fiscal quarter this year, which just ended June 27, has been the worst quarter in its recent history. In fact, Q2 2020 marks its first quarterly loss since 2001, when Disney’s biggest theatrical release was Monsters, Inc., and a tree collapsed in Disneyland, causing 29 injuries, the most guest injuries in the history of the park.
Across the company, Disney lost nearly $5 billion in April, May, and June of 2020. Most of its theme parks were closed, cutting off the company’s largest revenue stream while still incurring expenses. Smaller streams such as Disney-owned live theatre companies and sports venues dried up entirely. Nearly all cinemas in the world have been closed, causing Disney to delay the release of expensive blockbusters such as Mulan and Black Widow. The company is also still paying off the Fox acquisition, which cost a total of $71.3 billion.
The only parts of the company currently seeing actual profit are the direct-to-consumer tracks, such as Disney+ and the other streaming services that the Disney Company either owns or controls, like Hulu, ESPN+, and Star India. During the COVID-19-related lockdowns, Disney+ surged to over 60 million subscribers. Just as a reference, it took Netflix eight years to grow that far. Bob Chapek, the company’s new CEO, has stated that streaming is currently the company’s overall top priority.
News of the quarterly loss was a blow to Disney’s stock price, but only two days after the announcement it had already begun to rally as buyers processed the news about the company’s streaming profits and redid their math.
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