Disney CEO Bob Chapek Looks Ahead Despite Plummeting Stock

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek Looks Ahead Despite Plummeting Stock

By Movieguide® Contributor

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek looks to the company’s future at the Sun Valley Conference this week, and as Disney’s centennial approaches, he plans to lay the foundation for a successful second century.

“I believe our mission for this year is clear: set the stage for our second century, and ensure Disney’s next 100 years are as successful as our first,” Chapek wrote to employees in a January 10 memo.

However, Disney’s plummeting stock overshadows his forward-looking efforts. Movieguide® previously reported that the Walt Disney Co.’s market value dropped 41% this past year, “the lowest number posted by Disney since 2018.”

While current economic instability has partially influenced this decline, Disney recently doubled down on its efforts to saturate its children’s content with immoral and LGBTQ themes, also causing its decreased market value.

Additionally, while the company looks to reach 230-260 million global subscribers on Disney+ by the end of the 2024 fiscal year, Netflix’s recent subscriber slowdown and Disney’s potential loss of cricket streaming rights in India threaten this goal.

Despite these significant losses, Disney’s board renewed Chapek’s contract for three more years, effective July 1, 2022.

“The board’s decision Tuesday left little doubt that it was committing to his vision for the company, adding in its announcement that Chapek ‘has set Disney on a course to lead the entertainment industry well into the company’s next century, with a keen focus on storytelling excellence, innovation, and audiences,’” Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall explained.

However, with recent box office flops such as LIGHTYEAR, which pushed “an immoral and unbiblical agenda that went directly against the narrative the original movies so beautifully told,” viewers may wonder if Chapek can follow through on his commitment to storytelling excellence, innovation and audience focus—the three pillars that he believes will launch Disney into its next century.

Movieguide® previously reported on Disney’s market value decline:

Despite Disney+’s aspirations to hit 230 to 260 million subscribers by 2024, Wall Street fears that recent economic woes will hit entertainment companies hardest.

Wall Street Multiples for the Hollywood mainstay Walt Disney Co. dropped by 41% over in the past year, the lowest number posted by Disney since 2018—barring pandemic-era markets—according to The Wrap.

“The fact that Disney is trading at $110 is stunning, it’s hard to believe,” Jessica Reif Ehrlich, a senior U.S. media and entertainment analyst at Bank of America Securities, said. “As the market collapses, multiples collapse. We are in that period of it being doom and gloom.”

“Disney’s fiscal second-quarter results were largely positive although management commentary on second-half Disney+ net adds are likely to be a key concern among investors,” Ehrlich wrote in a recent report called ‘A Multiverse of Moving Parts.’ “While Disney+ net adds of 7.9 million beat our 5 million forecast, management indicated second-half net adds will not be significantly higher than in the first half.”

The decline in market value is not unique to Disney’s streamer, as Netflix also reported a loss of subscriber growth in Q1.

Despite the economic turmoil faced by all companies in 2022, Disney’s recent vocal stance on promoting LGBTQ+ messages in their children’s content also negatively affected their market value.

The Wrap reported: “ The stock’s declines are partly related to recent entanglements in hot-button social issues such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill (which has evolved into a battle over the company’s special tax status in Florida), but the company has also run afoul of the kind of metrics analysts want to see.”

Movieguide® previously noted the potential financial loss that over-sexualization could have on the success of their content, namely major blockbusters like the upcoming LIGHTYEAR.
Despite Wall Street’s wary approach to entertainment, another half of investors believe Walt Disney Co. is worth the risk.

Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall notes: “When a company of Disney’s scale focuses its collective resources on a singular objective, we think investors would be remiss not consider taking that execution risk.”