Bob Iger Explains Where He Thinks Disney Went Wrong

Photo from Thomas Kelley via Unsplash

Bob Iger Explains Where He Thinks Disney Went Wrong

By Movieguide® Contributor

After announcing a major shift in business strategy earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger explained where the company went wrong and how the upcoming changes will undo its missteps.

“As we got into the streaming business in a very, very aggressive way, we tried to tell too many stories,” Iger told the MoffettNathanson Media, Internet & Communications Conference. “Basically, we invested too much, way ahead of possible returns. It’s what led to streaming ending up as a $4 billion loss.”

The excessive spending was the result of Disney trying to assert itself in the streaming space by releasing a greater volume of content than its competitors.

“There’s a very fine line that you can cross and get in trouble if your volume ends up diluting management’s attention to what is being made is right,” Iger explained. “And that’s what happened to us. So I have pulled that back.”

The problem with Disney’s strategy was producing too much content in too short of a time within too narrow of a space. The Marvel and Star Wars universes received the majority of the spending, leading to dozens of shows that only the most committed fans could keep up with. The immense churn of content also led to a major drop in quality as Disney’s studios stretched to meet deadlines.

“I’ve been telling everybody good isn’t good enough. It has to be great,” Iger said. “Just keep driving that, but if you force them to make too much, then that becomes impossible to do.”

During the Q2 earnings report during the first week of May, Iger revealed the company’s new approach to content is to slow down output to allow fans a chance to digest the stories told as well as to improve quality.

Specifically for Marvel, the studio plans to drop its production from roughly four movies a year to three at the most. The production of Marvel shows on Disney+ will also slow down.

To help further boost the streaming side, Disney has begun to combine its services. It recently added Hulu onto Disney+, allowing users access to Hulu’s content, with ads, for $2 extra per month. The company also plans on bringing ESPN into the picture within the next year, further broadening its audience.

Movieguide® previously reported:

By the end of 2024, Disney+ will begin to feature select ESPN “live games” and studio programs to watch on the platform. 

“We see this as a first step to bringing ESPN to Disney+ viewers as we ready the launch of our enhanced stand-alone ESPN streaming service in the fall of 2025,” Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said in a press release.

“It’s a start in terms of essentially conditioning the audience or subscribers to Disney+ and Hulu to the fact that sports is going to be there and it also will help us in terms of overall engagement with our bundle,” he continued.

Iger and ESPN have long-term contracts with college football championships, NCAA championships and the National Football League.

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