Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger told company employees that his second role as CEO was more challenging than he expected, but he was nonetheless “optimistic” about the entertainment giant’s future.
“I knew there were a myriad of challenges I would face upon returning,” Iger said at a staff town hall Tuesday afternoon. “I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I never wavered in the decision to come back, and it’s still great to come back.”
“I spent the year with the team fixing a lot of things… but I feel like we just came out of a period of a lot of fixing into a period of building again and I can tell you that,” the veteran executive continued. Building is more fun than repairing.”
He added that with the repair behind him and the building in front of him, he had high hopes for what was to come.
“I talk about optimism being a very important trait for a leader, because no one wants to follow a pessimist,” Iger said. “But I also think that hopeless optimism doesn’t do anyone any good. I think I have a real reason — and we have a real reason as Disney — to be optimistic, and it starts with the fact that we are Disney. And Disney, you know, is a brand in its own right, but it’s also an umbrella company with many Of assets and many great brands.So, the first reason for optimism is that.
Eger’s city council meeting came one year after he hosted a similar event for Disney employees, just weeks after his surprise return to the company as CEO. This time the event was held in New York (Iger is scheduled to speak at the New York Times Dealbook Conference on Wednesday) at the New Amsterdam Theater (home of the Broadway show). Aladdin), moderated by ABC News anchor David Muir.
Since then, the company has undergone a radical transformation. Iger restructured the company into three divisions: Disney Entertainment, Sports (including ESPN), Experiences and Products; He launched a major cost-cutting initiative, laying off about 7,000 employees to shrink the company’s structure.
At ESPN, some top talent was shown the door, and at ABC News a wave of top executives was let go. The “metaverse” section created by Bob Chapek was similarly closed.
Iger revealed in the company’s latest earnings report that the company was on track to achieve $7.5 billion in cost reductions, $2 billion higher than previously expected.
All of Iger’s priorities were laid out during the town hall, where Iger was joined by entertainment co-presidents Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro, and board chairman Josh D’Amaro.
Regarding Disney’s linear TV assets, Iger said he regretted the way an interview with CNBC in July was interpreted, telling Moyer that he doesn’t think “everyone is going to run with a story that everything is selling, and that’s not the case.” source.
Iger said no decisions have been made about the future of the company’s linear entertainment assets, but added, “We are trying to migrate these companies to the new business model.”
“As is the case with all of our businesses, which we must do in order to fundamentally serve shareholders, do we look at the future of all of our businesses with an eye toward whether these businesses will grow?” Iger added. “Will they stay the same or will their value decrease? If so, what should we do about it?”
Walden added that the company is increasingly leaning toward programming and a strategy that sees linear networks complementing the company’s streaming portfolio.
“What we’ve discovered is that our linear channels are deeply ingrained in our broadcast strategy,” Walden said. “They want to watch live shows, sports, live events – they want to watch it in a time slot, and the place you can do that, for the most part, is linear channels… The idea of a community event is still very much on linear channels.” “.
I was martyred Golden Bachelor As an example of how to implement this strategy:
“It launches on ABC, then goes straight to Hulu hours later, and still reaches nearly 15 million viewers, but meets our viewers where they are,” she said.
As for ESPN, Iger reiterated that one of his top priorities is to “transform ESPN into a preeminent digital sports platform and bring ESPN directly to consumers rather than just cable and satellite.”
Pitaro added that the company is currently “in the market doing research.” We look at things like timing, things like price point.
He added: “Our mission is to serve sports fans at any time and in any place.” “So, if you want to continue to access ESPN the traditional way via cable or satellite, you’ll be able to do that even after we take over.”
He admitted that they are “in the market talking to potential partners, looking through lenses like technology, marketing and then content as well,” but the company is also prepared to do it on its own if necessary. Iger said the company was “fully prepared” to do so, though he added that without partners it could be more “difficult,” a source said.
Iger and D’Amaro touted the recently announced $60 billion investment in the parks.
“Just a few weeks ago we stood on stage in front of the investor community and said we are going to invest $60 billion in the next 10 years in this business because we believe in it,” D’Amaro said. “We’ve seen what’s been done. We’re seeing the impact it’s had on our guests and fans around the world. We have a lot of space to play with. Disneyland for example, Walt’s original theme park, we still have enough room to build another Disneyland there if we choose to do it. There’s So many stories to keep telling, so many new places to go. We’ve come a long way in the last few years but we’re incredibly excited for the future.
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