The Walt Disney Company is a global entertainment company that operates a broad range of businesses, including theme parks, resorts, a cruise line, broadcast TV networks, and related products. Disney also produces live entertainment events and produces and streams a wide range of film and TV entertainment content through its relatively new digital streaming services. The Walt Disney Co. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol, DIS.
Founded in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, the company now boasts a market capitalization of $256 billion (as of Nov. 17, 2020) and generated annual net income of $11.6 billion on annual revenue of $69.6 billion during its 2019 fiscal year (FY), which ended Sept. 28, 2020.
Under the leadership of Bob Chapek, who took over from Robert Iger as the company's CEO in Feb. 2020, the company operates through the following business segments: Media Networks; Parks, Experiences and Products; Studio Entertainment; and Direct-to-Consumer and International.
The Walt Disney World theme park in Florida reopened in July after closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, COVID-19 cases have since escalated in Florida, with officials having reported the highest level of new infections of any U.S. state.
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Disney's Latest Developments
- On July 29, 2021, actor Scarlet Johannsen sued Disney over the simultaneous streaming release of the movie Black Widow, which she starred in. The suit alleges that Disney broke its contractual obligation to her because her salary, which includes a cut of box office revenues, was agreed with the provision that the film would have a "theatrical release." Ms. Johannsen's lawyers argue that a theatrical release of the film meant that it would be exclusive to theatres. Box office receipts fell precipitously in the movie's second weekend.
- On July 13, 2021, the 2021 Emmy nominations were announced and Disney, whose properties and networks garnered 146 nominations, the most out of any major media conglomerate. It beat out AT&T, which owns Time Warner, which got 138 and Netflix, which got 129.
- On July 9, 2021, Disney released the movie "Black Widow" simultaneously in theatres and for a $29.99 fee on its streaming service, Disney+. This is a major test to see whether or not releasing one of its blockbuster Marvel movies simultaneously on its streaming service and in theatres will expand sales by drawing in new viewers, or simply cannibalize theatre revenue.
- On June 30, 2021, Disney announced that it would report Q3 FY 2021 results after markets closed on Thursday, August 12, 2021.
- As of the week of June 21, 2021, Disney has started offering $1,000 hiring bonuses for a number of positions at Walt Disney World, showing that it is among the many companies having difficulty quickly rehiring all the workers it needs as the economy reopens.
- On June 15, 2021, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that he had no intention of releasing a cheaper, ad-supported version of its Disney+ streaming service, saying "We’re happy with the models that we’ve got right now."
- On May 26, 2021, Disney announced that on June 15, 2021, Disneyland will be open to people from outside of California and operate at full capacity. This comes after the California state government announced on May 21 that it would be fully re-opening the state on June 15, with limited restrictions for indoor and outdoor "mega events." Theme parks count as outdoor mega events, and so they will be required to provide masks to all customers and strongly recommends, but does not mandate, that all visitors have either a negative COVID-19 test or be fully vaccinated.
- On May 13, 2021, Disney reported earnings for the second quarter of its 2021 fiscal year (FY), which ended April 3, 2021. Its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.79, far above analysts' expectations, but revenue was $15.6 billion, slightly below the $15.9 billion analysts' had expected. The company also reported a fewer-than-expected 103.6 million Disney+ subscribers.
- On April 30, 2021, Disneyland reopened after shutting down in March of 2020. Currently, only California residents can visit the park and may not come in groups of more than three per household due to COVID-19.
- On April 21, 2021, Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a deal that would give Disney U.S. television and streaming rights to Sony's movies. However, due to a deal Sony and Netflix announced earlier in April, the rights will only begin for each movie after a period during which Netflix has exclusive rights.
- On April 13, 2021, Disney released a blog post announcing that it is broadening the dress code for park employees. Changes include allowing a wider array of hair, jewelry, and costume styles to allow a wider variety of cultural and gender expressions. The change comes as part of a broader effort to make the park more inclusive to all people.
- On March 9, 2021, Disney announced that its streaming service, Disney+ had surpassed 100 million paid subscribers. For reference, Netflix had just over 200 million at the end of 2020.
- On Feb. 11, 2021, Disney announced earnings for the first quarter of its 2021 FY, which ended Jan. 2, 2021. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.32, a 79% drop from the previous year's $1.53 a share. Revenue fell less severely, but still substantially, by 22%, down to $16.2 from $20.9 billion at the end of its 2020 fiscal year. The biggest hit was to the company's "Parks, Experiences and Products" segment, which has suffered substantially since mid-2020 as Disney's parks have been closed or at reduced capacity and its cruises have been suspended.