Disney slips into the red for first time since 2001
‘Theme parks have been hit hard, overshadowing the wildly successful launch of Disney Plus’
DISNEY posted its first loss in almost two decades last night after the coronavirus crisis created a perfect storm for the global entertainment giant, with most of its key businesses grounding to a near-halt. The company said it made a loss of $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in the three months to the end of June as sales slumped by 40pc to $11.8bn.
Disney also revealed that its liveaction remake Mulan would be sold directly on Disney Plus, its streaming rival to Netflix, instead of being released in theatres, signalling another shift away from the industry’s reliance on cinemas.
The company’s theme parks, cruise lines, movie business and sports broadcasting division have all been hit hard by the pandemic, overshadowing the wildly successful launch of Disney Plus.
While subscribers to Disney Plus hit 57.5m, revenues at its tourism business, which includes theme parks and cruises, fell by 85pc. Its theme parks were largely closed in the quarter, and although Shanghai and Hong Kong attractions reopened, attendance has been limited. Other parks that have reopened since, including its Disney World resort in Florida, have done so with safety measures such as face masks and entertainers keeping their distance from children.
The company’s cruise ships have been docked and blockbuster projects such as Avatar and Star Wars have been delayed for at least a year, squeezing revenues at its studio arm.
In February it revealed that its longtime chief executive Bob Iger was stepping down, staying at the company as chairman until next year. Parks boss Bob Chapek has taken over as chief executive, although Mr Iger is believed to have taken a more hands-on role during the pandemic than expected.
The company last made a quarterly loss in early 2001, when it wrote down hundreds of millions of dollars on Go. com, the web portal it had launched two years earlier during the dotcom boom.
Disney Plus hopes to attract more subscribers with popular new content such as Beyoncé’s visual album ‘Black is King’