For television business The Walt Disney Co. (DIS), the last year was a hard one, since all of its companies were placed on hold, theme parks did not work, and film premieres were delayed until the COVID-19 pandemic stopped. This year, though, may be the year of the “comeback” for Disney.
The decrease in the Disney theme park division was more than 85 percent, to $983 million, in the third fiscal year. Operating costs soared to $2 billion. Yet there was positive news for the organization in the fall about the progress of producing the COVID-19 vaccine. The pandemic could be slowed down and many of the restrictions lifted by vaccines. If the COVID-19 vaccine is genuinely successful and universal, theme park occupancy will rebound by the end of 2021, and revenues will also rebound to the previous level by the end of 2021. Interest in parks is expected to sustain the deferred demand created during the forced self-isolation period.
The previous year was a year in which subscription platforms expanded strongly. The Disney+ subscription service, launched by Disney over a year ago, has now attracted almost 87 million users and could become one of the world’s biggest streaming platforms in the near future. Management plans between 230 million and 260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of 2024, according to a new presentation by Disney to investors. In March 2021, an additional catalyst of Disney’s success will be a $7.99 per month rise in subscription rates, which will provide an additional $22 billion in total revenues. Disney is investing in new original shows in order to draw new subscribers: several hundred programs are planned over the coming years.
Yet Disney is expected to take action to modernize the ESPN sports channel beyond that. Disney would presumably still prefer to create a new online service in the case of sports broadcasts, because the developments in the cable TV market were less favorable: in 2020, the company started to lose viewers of ESPN. Whilst the ESPN+ subscription channel is a Disney specialty, offering that shows a small selection of content. This channel can, however, become a growth point in the long run. Particularly, Disney has the resources to create a sports channel for highly competitive streaming.
The last year has proven that, in the present scenario, Disney’s streaming service is more reliable than conventional amusement parks and film studios. The organization has proven that it can operate in tough environments, so a return to the conventional way of living is more likely to see Disney restart success in 2021.
The Walt Disney Company (DIS) was stable as many of the stocks on last trading session of the year on Thursday with a bit up +0.01% at $181.18.