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Walt Disney Co. had a profit dive of 90 percent in the second quarter of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down movie production, theme parks and stores across the country. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 situation still uncertain and getting worse across the country, Disney’s earnings are fundamentally impaired and will be in free fall for the foreseeable future. But, like many other companies that are experiencing one of the toughest periods ever, Disney is finding ways to cope with the situation and make more money from revenue streams that have not been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
Focus on online services
Like many other businesses, Disney is surviving off its online-based services while other businesses are on hold. One Disney business that is booming right now despite the conditions is its new streaming service. Less than a year after its launch, Disney Plus currently has more than 50 million subscribers, with 20 million of them subscribing over the last four months. As a result, the company has shattered both its own projections as well as analyst forecasts that believed the service would hit 50 million subscribers in 2022 at the earliest.
To drive more sign-ups, movies such as “Frozen 2”, “Onward”, and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” were added to Disney Plus earlier than expected. Disney has also moved some movies to Disney Plus exclusives: “Artemis Fowl”, which was supposed to hit theaters in May, has been released directly on Disney Plus instead. With its physical stores closed, Disney is also selling more products online than ever before, with customers flocking to its online store to buy costumes, toys, clothes, decor and collectibles. Customers who love surprises are also signing up for its subscription box service to have an assortment of carefully selected products, which cover a broad range of Disney content, delivered to their home every month.
Postponing major releases
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, movie theaters across the globe have been closed indefinitely and film production put on hold, forcing Disney to push back most of its movie releases. “Black Widow”, starring Scarlett Johansson, was scheduled to hit theaters on May 1, kicking off the summer blockbuster season, but has been postponed to Nov 6. “Jungle Cruise”, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt has seen its debut postponed by one year to July 30, 2021. As a ripple effect, even movies that were supposed to debut in 2021 are affected, with the release of “Thor: Love and Thunder” and a new “Indiana Jones” movie postponed by one year to 2022.
Like many other businesses, Disney has been – and will continue to be – affected by the COVID-19 pandemic until the world gets rid of it. But, for a company that has repeatedly shown its exceptional resilience when faced with tough challenges, there’s no doubt that it can withstand this disruption and come out the other side in a strong position.