Thursday afternoon, Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, participated in a Q&A session as part of the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference.
Regarding Disney’s theme parks, Iger mentioned that reducing crowding is a focus and stated, “it’s tempting to let more and more people in, but if the guest satisfaction levels are going down because of crowding, that doesn’t work.” Earlier this year, Iger mentioned being happy with the results Disney sees with Park Pass reservations and reinforced it in today’s interview, saying, “We had to figure out how we reduce crowding, but maintain, obviously, our profitability. We did that well, but we have to be careful about that as well because in doing that, you actually end up increasing the price or putting features into your pricing that are viewed by some consumers as being too aggressive, and that’s what we have to be careful about.” He stressed that it’s important to him to make Disney accessible to families.
Touching on Disneyland, Iger said there is more opportunity to grow the theme parks there than people might realize, mentioning the previously-reported Avatar experience that’s in the works. He also mentioned that their IP (intellectual properties) like Star Wars and Toy Story have both done really well inside the theme parks and that there is plenty of growth opportunity there.
Moving on to streaming, Iger said he’s “generally bullish on streaming as a great consumer proposition, as a really robust platform to deliver high-quality content,” but “we have to better rationalize our costs and obviously, we have to attract more subs. In our zeal to grow global subs, I think we were off in terms of our pricing strategy, and we’re starting to learn more about it.” He also said he’s optimistic about growing Disney+, understands that it won’t grow as fast as it did during its first two years, and mentioned that advertising is “very new” on that platform, they’re still learning, and that “exclusivity wasn’t as valuable as they thought.” He mentioned the significant age differences between viewers on Disney+ compared to ABC and Hulu saying that they will continue to make use of all platforms.
Iger also said Disney had an overall “disconnect” between what it was spending on content and how it was monetizing that — and that the company needs to become “more judicious” about the investment they make on content. The company is still examining whether or not it will buy out Comcast’s 33% of Hulu and that because the environment is tricky, they’re “studying the business very, very carefully.” He stated that Hulu is a “very solid platform,” but they “want to understand where it could go” before making that move.
When asked about a possible successor, Iger said his “goal is essentially to leave here in two years with a trajectory… that is very optimistic and positive.”
Senior Editor for The DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº