I hope you’re happy with your Disney+ subscription because the House of Mouse is going full force into the digital future. Speaking to CNBC this afternoon, the Walt Disney Company announced that it will be reorganizing its business plans to “further accelerate its direct-to-consumer strategy,” which is fancy talk for “Disney+ is our priority.”
CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC, “We are tilting the scale pretty dramatically [toward streaming].” If you’re thinking this transition was because of COVID, that’s only partially the truth. “I would not characterize it as a response to COVID,” Chapek explained. “I would say COVID accelerated the rate at which we made this transition, but this transition was going to happen anyway.”
If you’ve been following Disney news this year, the shift shouldn’t come as a surprise. Due to numerous setbacks and delays, Mulan ended up heading exclusively to Disney+ in North America last month. Similarly, Pixar’s Soul will be hitting the service exclusively on Christmas due to the crippling theater industry. Disney doesn’t have any reservations about going all-in on streaming.
“[Consumers] are going to lead us,” Chapek told CNBC. “Right now they are voting with their pocketbooks, and they are voting very heavily toward Disney+. We want to make sure that we are going the way the consumers want us to go.” Sadly, the shift will resort in some downsizing of staff, but Chapek assures CNBC it won’t be to the degree that Disney’s California based parks suffered (which cut 28,000 jobs due to the uncertainty surrounding re-opening).
I’m not sure exactly how I feel about an all-digital future, especially coming from Disney. At some point this was inevitable, but it would be nice for the company to continue to release physical media for those still interested. Special theatrical runs for bigger films would also be nice, but it seems Disney is only interested in money versus anything else.