Shortly before Disney + launched in Germany, Walt Disney got a new boss. Bob Chaper is succeeded by Bob Iger. With the top change announced after the US market closed, Disney presented a surprise that many investors and analysts had not expected.
After the successful launch of the Disney + streaming subscription service, he believed that the ideal time was to hand over the office to a new CEO, said Iger. Chapek has been with Disney for 27 years, and has been responsible for the thriving business of theme parks and resorts for the past five years. "Bob will be the seventh chief executive in Disney's nearly 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to lead the company into the next century."said Iger.
Iger's resignation comes unexpectedly, even though he has been considering retiring for a long time, and there have been speculations for years as to who could replace him. The 69-year-old was at the top of the group for around 15 years; he had taken over from Michael Eisner in 2005. Iger shaped the company with the takeover of studios such as Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm as well as large parts of the competitor 21st Century Fox. He will remain Disney's executive director until the end of 2021.
Investors are surprised
On Wall Street, the sudden change of leadership led to astonishment, also because Disney did not present a successor to Chapek's position. "It is a huge surprise"said Laura Martin of the investment company Needham & Co to the financial broadcaster Bloomberg TV. Most listed companies try to gently prepare the markets for important personnel changes. The sudden announcement of Disney – the world's largest entertainment company with a market value of more than $ 230 billion – shocked investors accordingly. The stock temporarily fell by more than four percent.
In addition, the Chapek personnel astonished some observers. The 60-year-old has been with the company for almost 30 years, but actually everything in the entertainment business has long been about streaming and not so much about theme parks. Many experts therefore had Kevin Mayer on the screen as an Iger heir. He runs Disney's new streaming service Disney + and has also been with the company for more than two decades. It is all the more surprising that the choice did not fall on him, since Disney's attack in the streaming market was just beginning.
Disney + comes to Germany
Iger's most recent major project as CEO was to set up and start the Disney + streaming service, which premiered in the United States on November 12th. With the offer, the Hollywood studio opened the competition against competitors such as Netflix, which has made customers in the classic TV and film industry unrelenting in recent years. Disney + won nearly 29 million customers in less than three months. In Germany, Disney + is scheduled to launch on March 24 for 7 euros a month. Then the service will also be available in Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland.
Chapek meanwhile expect big tasks: The streaming offensive carries high risks and devours a lot of money, which led to a slump in profits in the most recent quarter. Disney currently wants to attract customers primarily at comparatively low costs, with the prices initially remaining unchanged. In Germany, a Disney + subscription in the annual package can currently be purchased at a discount – but only until the service starts.
The launch of Disney + changes the market
In the three months to the end of December 2019, net income from continuing operations fell 23 percent year-over-year to $ 2.1 billion. Meanwhile, sales increased by a good third to $ 20.9 billion. The company's problem child, however, is the crisis-ridden sports broadcaster ESPN, which is suffering from falling subscriptions and advertising revenue, but still generates a large part of the proceeds.
With the launch of Disney +, the market for video streaming subscriptions will change fundamentally, because Disney no longer wants to license its own content to other providers in the long term. The Disney + content will then no longer be available elsewhere in the subscription. Golem.de recently published an analysis on the development of the market for video streaming subscriptions.