The corona pandemic has brought the US entertainment giant Walt Disney into the red. In the three months to the end of June, the bottom line was a loss of $ 4.7 billion, about € 4 billion, as the company announced on Tuesday after the US stock market closed in Burbank, California. A year ago, there was a net profit of $ 1.8 billion, and earnings from continuing operations were $ 1.4 billion.
Demanded but deficient streaming
As the Disney annual report shows, sales slumped 42 percent to $ 11.8 billion. Disney boss Bob Chapek spoke of ongoing challenges, but also of the “incredible success” of the Disney + streaming service. The video service launched last November already had 60.5 million subscribers this Monday, Chapek said. In order to attract additional customers, the new edition of the cartoon fairy tale “Mulan”, which has been repeatedly postponed in the cinema, is to be shown at Disney + in September – albeit at an impressive price of just under $ 30.
The rapid growth of the streaming business for Disney is not paying off anyway – at least not in money. The division has so far been very deficient and the boom has also been bought by bargain prices and free lure offers, for example to many US customers of the Internet provider Verizon Fios. It remains to be seen whether Disney, the streaming market leader Netflix, which was also more in demand than ever during the corona-related lockdown, will be able to heat up permanently.
Weak amusement parks
Disney’s business with amusement parks, holiday resorts and cruises – usually a reliable source of profit – suffered badly in the crisis and, like in the previous quarter, is in deep trouble. Revenue plunged 85 percent year over year, and the operating loss was nearly $ 2 billion. Disney’s attractions have now largely reopened, but with strict corona requirements and an uncertain outlook given ongoing virus worries in the United States.
The film division also groaned under production stops and the compulsory break in cinema operations. Here, revenue fell 55 percent, but operating profit remained reasonably stable with a 16 percent drop to $ 668 million. The cable business, which is actually not exactly spoiled for success because of the problematic sports broadcaster ESPN – which has long been suffering from a decline in subscriptions – has proven to be an important pillar in the pandemic. Earnings increased 48 percent to nearly $ 3.2 billion with earnings almost stable.