Disney gains 74m subscribers in a silver lining for Covid-hit giant

Disney gains 74m subscribers in a silver lining for Covid-hit giant

Disneyland is expected to remain closed until the end of the entertainment and media conglomerate's fiscal first quarter, which falls on December 31, Walt Disney CFO Christine McCarthy announced on the company's fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday.

Disney+ had more than 73 million paid subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter.

At Disney and other major Hollywood studios, the pandemic has accelerated a shift toward streaming and direct-to-consumer services that count on subscriptions, rather than box-office grosses, to boost the bottom line.

Disney's Board of Directors made the decision to forego the semi-annual dividend payments to its shareholders in January of 2021 and will resume that upon returning to a more "normalized operating environment".

Chapek expects that the new global launch of Star branded general entertainment offering will enable Disney to grow their business further in a year's ahead.

Overall revenue fell about 23% to $14.71 billion in the quarter ended October 3, above analysts' average estimate of about $14.2 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The company is selectively releasing some of its films through its Disney+ streaming service while continuing delay its biggest blockbusters as it holds out for a theatrical release. Once a growth engine, Disney's parks have become a drag: Properties in California remain closed and visitors to other resorts remain light, due to both virus-related restrictions and consumers' unwillingness to travel.

Disney Plus has boomed during the pandemic. Chapek did warn that the unpredictability of COVID-19 could cause disruptions.

As per MarketWatch, according to the company's November 12 quarterly report, Disney's fourth-quarter losses totaled $710 million United States dollars, which led the company to suffer its second consecutive red quarter. Overall 2020 revenues slid by 6% from US$69.6 billion in 2019 to US$65.4 billion by the end of 2020.

He acknowledges that people are willing to visit the parks because they trust Disney and are confident in the measures that have been taken. In September, 28,000 cast members were let go by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Walt Disney World Resort reopened in July and had been operating at 25% capacity until now. The park has been closed since March, and the company has accused California Gov. Gavin Newsom of requiring overly strict guidelines to reopen.

Despite this, the company continues to suffer the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has ravaged its studios and parks businesses.

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