Musk Leaves Twitter Staff Without Equity Plan as Deadline LoomsRead Now

An  employee at Walt Disney Co.'s Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong on June 18. Shutdowns resulting from the coronavirus contributed to a $4.7 billion quarterly loss.

Disney Streamers Hit 100 Million: The Information’s Tech Briefing

Photo: An employee at Walt Disney Co.'s Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong on June 18. Shutdowns resulting from the coronavirus contributed to a $4.7 billion quarterly loss.

Disney pulled off a successful misdirection today by getting investors to think less about Covid-19 and more about the invasion of the Huns.

The company said during an otherwise dismal earnings report that it will release Mulan—its twice-delayed big budget release about a young woman who fends off invaders in China—as a rental in September on its Disney+ streaming service for $30. Along with strong growth numbers for Disney+ and Hulu, that news helped paper over a quarter that saw losses of $4.7 billion. Those brutal results were led by the parks and resorts segment, which alone posted an operating loss of $2 billion.

The Mulan decision was just the latest domino to tip in the remaking of the movie business this year—but it could be one of the most significant. Disney CEO Bob Chapek tried to temper the enormity of the move during the earnings call, describing it as a “one off” caused by the pandemic, rather than a wholesale shift in its theatrical strategy. Unlike his counterparts at NBCUniversal, he doesn’t seem eager to tangle with exhibitors.

Disney could have gone even further to bolster its streaming services, for which it now counts a total of 100 million paid subscriptions. It could make Mulan free for all Disney+ subscribers as it did with Hamilton. That would be a truly radical move, perhaps too radical for the company’s new CEO. Time will tell whether the Mulan move is truly a “one-off” or a harbinger of something more dramatic down the line.

Tom Dotan

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing markets google
For Tech CEOs, ‘Challenging’ Means Dismal
Photos by Bloomberg
Challenging! That’s the euphemism of the moment, used by way too many tech CEOs (including Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai tonight and Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel in recent days) to describe either 2022 or the current moment or both. Translated from corporate-speak into conversational English, it means business is bad. Just how bad became clear from the December-quarter results reported...
Latest Briefs
 
Stripe CFO Dhivya Suryadevara to Leave Company
Apple Revenue Declines as iPhone Sales Slide
Alphabet Revenue Growth Slowed Again in Q4
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Photos by Bloomberg
The Briefing markets google
For Tech CEOs, ‘Challenging’ Means Dismal
Challenging! That’s the euphemism of the moment, used by way too many tech CEOs (including Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai tonight and Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel in recent days) to describe either 2022 or the current moment or both.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Photo by Bloomberg
Creator Economy google policy
YouTube’s Ad Revenue Falls Again; More U.S. Pressure on TikTok
A continued decline in YouTube ad revenue spells bad news for creators who earn money from the video-sharing site.
Photo Illustration by Shane Burke. Photos by Getty and Shutterstock
Exclusive
Musk’s Twitter Scores Super Bowl Deals, a Boon for Struggling Ad Business
After weeks of turmoil and layoffs, Twitter’s sales team in recent weeks has reorganized to focus more on big advertisers and launch new ad products, such as its recently released digital confetti.
Photo via Getty
Dealmaker venture capital
A New Bubble Is Forming for AI Startups, But Don’t Expect a Crypto-like Pop
Venture capitalists have dumped crypto and moved on to a new fascination: artificial intelligence. As a sign of this frenzy, they're paying steep prices for startups that are little more than ideas.
Illustration by Clark Miller.
Opinion startups
Stop Paying People So Much
Every startup leadership team wrestles with the trade-offs between growth and profitability. This is fitting and ever shall be.
Verily headquarters in San Francisco. Photo by AP.
Exclusive google
Revenues Rise at Alphabet’s Biggest ‘Other Bet’ But So Do Losses
Verily, by far the biggest Alphabet unit by revenue after Google, continues to post heavy losses, according to previously undisclosed financial information.