Today, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek sat down with Brett Feldman, managing Director Goldman Sachs for the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, to discuss the company.
One of the starting topics of conversation was how Disney was shockingly doing well throughout the pandemic while many other businesses were having difficulty. Of course, the Disney Parks have seen a downward spiral in attendance if we look at some of the months in 2020, but now as capacity is increasing, financial revenue in the parks is up!
Plus, while the parks were closed, Disney took advantage of Disney+, where they saw a lot of success. Disney introduced Premier Access, which allowed Disney fans to watch a theatrical release from home at an added cost and gave many consumers something to do during a period where many had had to lockdown.
Now, Chapek has admitted that Disney is doing quite well. The CEO said:
“I think we’re positioned very well. Given the magnitude of what we’ve all experienced, it’s a minor miracle. Our focus has always been on the consumer but I believe going forward it’s even going to be more on the consumer. And that’s important because our superpower if you will at Disney is our storytelling, and it’s our storytelling particularly around our core franchises which are powerhouses in the entertainment industry.”
Hearing that Disney wants to move towards a more consumer-driven model is not surprising after seeing how well their direct to consumer platform has done.
“I think where we’ve taken a major step forward over the last 18 months has really been on the level of investment that we’re putting into our business particularly our Direct to Consumer business, and that takes the form of two different avenues. One is the increased investment in our content…but also market expansion.”
In terms of the Parks, Chapek has used optimism to deal with their closures, stating that this was a time for Disney to improve their parks and Guest experiences. Interestingly enough, just months later, we hear about new Annual Passes and the new Disney Genie completely reshaping the Guests experience.
“[For the parks] we used the opportunity of the parks being closed, a horrible thing, but we didn’t let that opporutnity go by so that we could reconceive our whole park exprience in terms of maximizing the guest experience while at the same time increasing our return to our shareholders…”
“So given the cards we were dealt and some of the challenges we faced, we are just really pleased with how we emerged because our goal always was to emerge stronger afterwards than how we came into this.”
If we have learned thing, it is that Disney wants to provide what the consumer demands, which could be an exciting new change for the company and its fans who may be able to have a slightly larger influence.
What do you think of Disney’s success through the pandemic?