Disney Fights Back At ‘Restore the Magic’ Campaign
In a new SEC filing, Disney has made its counterargument against Trian’s “Restore the Magic” campaign that’s aimed at securing Nelson Peltz a seat on Disney’s Board of Directors. This comes after a media and marketing blitz by Peltz, who is trying to make his case to fans and investors that he can fix Disney’s faults.
We’ve already covered Peltz’s initial slide presentation to “Restore the Magic,” which sounds to us like a “Save Disney” remake–minus having Roy E. Disney as the face of the campaign. We’ll revisit some of that commentary here in light of Disney’s new SEC filing and interviews, and further explain why we think this proxy fight could be good for Walt Disney World and Disneyland fans.
Even if you haven’t read our part one of the “Restore the Magic” saga, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with this battle. If you’re active in Disney circles on social media, there’s a good chance that you’re being bombarded with “Restore the Magic” ads or sponsored posts. Peltz has also already done several interviews, with Disney responding both directly and indirectly. Suffice to say, it’s go to be a long and public fight.
Let’s dig right into Disney’s new SEC filing, which is essentially a Powerpoint presentation. In this, the company leads with the argument that the Disney Board of Directors is independent, “highly qualified” and has “provided strong oversight focused on delivering superior, sustained shareholder value.” Disney also touts how the board “regularly reviews, and is heavily involved in, setting the strategic direction of the company.”
This includes the launch of the direct-to-consumer platform (DTC) and pivoting from growth to focusing on profitability. It also purportedly includes addressing “leadership challenge” as they emerge, with a “focus on succession.” Disney also points to incoming Board Chairman Mark Parker, and how he’s an exemplary leader for Disney, as well as Carolyn Everson, who was added to the Board and has media expertise thanks to her roles at Meta and Microsoft.
Following this, Disney dedicates an entire slide to the following assertion: “Nelson Peltz does not understand Disney’s businesses and lacks the skills and experience to assist the board in delivering shareholder value in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem.”
If Disney were leading with its strongest argument, it would be a loser. DTC is precisely the problem, and if Disney’s assertion is that the Board has done a good job with that–hemorrhaging billions per quarter–that’s quite the suspect claim. Same goes for dealing with leadership challenges and succession planning. I doubt anyone is going to give Disney’s Board high marks for the decision to extend Chapek’s contract only to fire him a few months later, leading to severance payments of over $20 million.
As for succession planning (or rather, lack thereof), Disney’s track record is well-documented. While I’ll agree with the company that Mark Parker is a good choice and establishing the Succession Planning Committee is a smart move, that happened as Disney geared up for this proxy fight. Peltz’s easy retort is: “See? I’m already instigating positive changes.”
Drawing attention to Peltz’s lack of track record in media is accurate, but that’s not a contrast with Disney’s current board. Carolyn Everson is highlighted because she has the closest thing to media experience, and that’s via Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft. Not exactly apples to apples with Disney.
Fortunately for the company, Disney did not lead with its best case against Peltz. Following an ironclad argument about Bob Iger’s tenure and his track record of growth, the company digs deeper into its mergers and acquisitions.
Disney highlights the purchases of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, saying they enhanced the company’s value for shareholders and were transformative for the company. Again, these successes are indisputable. Iger grew Disney’s portfolio into an intellectual property behemoth beyond just animation.
Pixar has continued to perform well, with the Star Wars franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe delivering outsized box office performances and being the foundational assets for the Disney+ streaming service. Even if you don’t like Star Wars or Marvel, there’s little denying that those purchases look like bargains in retrospect. The financial results speak for themselves.
Disney goes on to defend its acquisition of 20th Century Fox. The company argues that this transaction was “critical to better positioning Disney to address key secular shifts in the media sector” and goes on to make the case as to why. Disney points to how the Fox purchase broadened its brand (FX, Hulu, NatGeo, Star, etc.) and intellectual property portfolio (Avatar, X-Men, Simpsons, Deadpool, etc.) and provided the company with a “deep bench” of talent, including Dana Walden, who’s a future CEO candidate.
Disney goes on to correct factual errors in Peltz’s argument against the Fox purchase, openly questions whether he’d prefer a competitor have purchased Fox, and goes on to explain why the company did not overpay for 20th Century Fox. All of this is compelling, even if the purchase price of Fox does appear high upon superficial inspection.
As I’ve said before, this is my main hesitation with critiquing the 20th Century Fox transaction. Sure, it sounded like way too much to pay, even at the time and especially as compared to Disney’s previous trio of acquisitions. However, I have the self-awareness to recognize there’s a lot I don’t know.
Betting against Bob Iger when it comes to M&A is like betting against James Cameron when it comes to blockbusters. They know more than you, whoever you are, so just don’t do it. Consequently, I’ll set aside my novice, surface-level impression of that deal and defer to Disney and Iger. They’ve earned it.
In the most humorous slide of Disney’s presentation, it uses Peltz’s own words against him, via a CNBC interview last week that…did not go so well! Without question, if that interview were your only exposure to this proxy fight, you’d think Peltz was out of his element and possibly only doing this to be a chaos agent.
Peltz didn’t have many good, substantive answers for what he’d bring to the table and some of his claims were factually inaccurate. Other interviews and arguments have been far more persuasive, so we view this slide more as an amusing eye-poke than a compelling case made by Disney.
Disney then goes on to rebut some of Peltz and Trian’s claims about motivations. These do not strike me as worthy of highlighting. It’s spin in both directions–Peltz wants to cast himself as the savior and Disney wants to frame his as the villain, eager to oust Iger. Neither reflect reality, which is more nuanced and messy.
Disney’s SEC presentation concludes with a timeline of the company’s engagement with Peltz. The first thing that should stick out is how many times that Chapek and Peltz met (and also that Ike Perlmutter was an apparent catalyst for this, because of course he was). Now contrast that with how new CEO Bob Iger has essentially given Peltz the cold shoulder.
Disney’s SEC Proxy Statement provides ‘color commentary’ here: “Mr. Perlmutter said he and Mr. Peltz supported Mr. Chapek, and that adding Mr. Peltz to the Board would help Mr. Chapek counter recent headwinds he had faced, solidify his position as CEO, and preempt any other potential shareholder nominations of director nominees at the 2023 Annual Meeting. He said without Mr. Peltz there, former executives including Mr. Iger, would be back at Disney.”
That paints a clearer picture of why things played out how they did. Chapek was more receptive to Peltz because the beleaguered CEO needed allies. Previously, we speculated that Disney’s Board of Directors might’ve brought back Iger to gear up for this fight, feeling that Chapek was not up to the task. With this added info, it’s possible that it wasn’t a matter of Chapek not being suited for battle–maybe Chapek didn’t want to fight because he wanted an ally on the Board.
In terms of commentary, I actually want to start by revisiting and supplementing my analysis of “Restore the Magic” from the last post. To be clear, I do not think Nelson Peltz has altruistic motives. It’s doubtful that any reasonable person actually thinks that Trian is interested in “Restoring the Magic” in the same sense that fans want it restored. That’s simply the marketing slogan–and just like most marketing, it’s BS.
Peltz almost certainly does not care about the intangibles or the company’s creative legacy, history, etc. This is precisely why I drew a contrast between Peltz and Roy E. Disney, who had a vested stake and genuine passion for the company’s creative legacy. The interviews with Peltz make clear that he doesn’t really care or grasp any of that. Quite simply, he wants to see the company become more profitable, shift focus to parks (probably for the consistent cash flow), cut spending on streaming, and reinstate the dividend by 2025.
Obviously, Peltz being a corporate raider brings with it healthy skepticism about his motives. Some might have the perspective that such individuals are never good for brands and their fans.
To be sure, there is an inherent tension between investors and enthusiasts. It does seem like, more often than not, Wall Street gains come at the expense of fans. Cost-cutting and price increases are used to juice share prices, to the detriment of consumers. We have written about this type of short-term mentality countless times, and how it’s detrimental to Disney’s long-term health.
However, that is not what’s happening here. Peltz’s purported goals have time horizons no earlier than 2025. As its presentation points out, Trian Group is oriented on the long-term, and its track record and average investment commitment bears that out. This claim is not simply window-dressing to win over fans.
My view is that there does not necessarily have to be a tension between investors and fans when both are focused on the long-term health and responsible growth of the company. The notion that Wall Street is “bad” for brands is misguided. Fairytales about passionate creative visionaries single-handedly forging empires might suggest otherwise, but business acumen and fiscal restraint are also important. Industry and creativity can work hand-in-hand towards mutually beneficial ends–the key is both being focused on the long-run and not cutting corners.
The company prioritizing short-term revenue at Walt Disney World and Disneyland is precisely the critique we and other fans have been making over the last several years. Again, Trian’s core thesis is that price increases and nickel & diming is short-term thinking that puts the brand value and long-term health of Disney’s theme parks business at risk. This is a point we’ve made many many many many many many times.
Some Disney fans have contended that Peltz’s older age means he’s necessarily interested in milking Disney for short-term gains. I disagree. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are famously long-term value investors, even to this day, despite their combined age of 191 years old.
You could just as easily argue that since Peltz is older and has already accumulated wealth beyond what he can spend in his remaining years, he’s interested in legacy-building. Maybe Peltz is targeting a prolific company like Disney because it’s a way of cementing his reputation long after he’s gone. This is not my contention, it’s just a plausible counterpoint. I won’t pretend to know what motivates wealthy investors to do what they do, but in my view, age is irrelevant.
It’s fair to not take Peltz’s claims at face value or question whether he has ulterior motives. However, it’s also fair to point out that it’s not clear and obvious that Peltz is bad (or good) for the company. There has been vigorous debate by analysts and investors via Bloomberg, CNBC, Fortune, Barron’s, Financial Times, and others as to whether he’d be an asset to Disney. (Those are all links to specific articles that you can read for a well-rounded overview of this fight.)
The only thing that is clear is that there is no clear consensus about Peltz. Not among analysts, investors, talking heads–or even board members and leadership at companies that were previously in Peltz’s crosshairs. Some in the latter camp vouch for him, including those at Heinz and P&G who praise him for turning around those companies. In other cases, he’s not viewed in much less fond terms. His track record–which is unquestionably mixed–is called into question.
According to FT, “Peltz is widely considered to be a fairly constructive activist investor, according to people who have found themselves on the other side of the negotiating table.” A source close to Disney put it in blunt terms: “As usual with [Peltz], you know, there’s always some kernel of truth, and there’s always some level of bullshit.”
In my view, it’s the kernel of truth that is significant, and what that could do for Disney. The bluster doesn’t really matter one way or another.
Already, Peltz has prompted changes at Disney. That is, unless you believe that the abrupt announcements of 3 BIG Changes at Walt Disney World to Improve Guest Experience & Value and Good Changes Coming to Disneyland had nothing to do with him, and it was total coincidence that that news dropped hours before Peltz launched his proxy fight.
To be sure, this is not entirely due to Peltz. D’Amaro and other leaders at Walt Disney World have been eager to improve guest satisfaction, but had their hands tied. Iger was acutely aware of this, expressed “alarm” at Walt Disney World price increases, and was concerned that Chapek was “killing the soul” of Disney. All of that is well-documented, and predates the Peltz proxy fight.
However, it’s impossible to dismiss the standoff with Trian and Peltz as playing zero role, especially given the timing of the aforementioned changes at the parks, Mark Parker’s elevation to Chairman, and establishment of the Succession Planning Committee. At minimum, “Restore the Magic” has been an accelerant that has already fast-tracked plans that were previously in motion.
Hence the statement in the prior post that corporate politics makes strange bedfellows. To whatever extent an alliance exists here between Peltz and fans, it’s one of convenience. It’s not because our values align, but because he might be means to an end. If he causes the company to focus less on streaming and more on the parks, and making Disney more accountable–that’s a win for fans.
Beyond what has already happened, the battle will almost assuredly prompt additional positive changes at Disney. In an attempt to undercut Peltz’s position, the company will likely voluntarily making some of the requested changes and improvements to demonstrate that he can’t add value since they’ve already implemented all of his suggestions.
Among other things, this means reining in runaway spending on streaming content, clear succession planning, and deleveraging. For Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it also likely means more manageable price growth, less nickel & diming, and improved guest satisfaction. It also just might mean park expansion projects are given the green light, as a good faith showing that there’s long-term vision of the parks and they don’t exist to simply subsidize streaming losses. (Josh D’Amaro and Bob Iger just spent the week touring Walt Disney World…there was likely a reason for that.)
With that said, this is only good news if you’re primarily a fan of Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and not instead focused on the Disney+ streaming service. The flow of high-budget content will likely slow over time and its price will increase, as Disney+ is simply not sustainable at present. From my perspective, this is great news–I don’t really care about Disney+ and am tired of the theme parks subsidizing other folly and failures. Others may disagree, and that’s fine.
At the end of the day, it’s only one board seat (at most). There’s only so much Peltz can do with that, and dismantling Disney and selling it off for parts (or whatever other fears fans have) most assuredly is not one of those things. For me, it’s the battle that has the value. This has already been very high-profile and the topic of exhaustive media coverage–that will continue to be the case as the battle heats up. So long as Disney is fending off this fight, they will keep making positive changes in the parks to demonstrate Iger is serious about “improving the guest experience by providing more value and flexibility.”
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What do you think about Disney’s response to the “Restore the Magic” Campaign? Did the company make a compelling case, or are its arguments flawed? Skeptical about that Nelson Peltz’s real motivations, or think he’s truly interested in long-term success? Think this will be beneficial for the company and fans at the end of the day? Optimistic that this will push Iger to finally get serious about choosing a successor or focus on improving guest satisfaction in the parks? Thoughts on anything else discussed here? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Note that neither Disney nor Peltz brought up politics or culture wars in their presentations; as such, all off-topic comments about either will be deleted.
Unilever (currently in the sights of UK regulators for price gouging)
Age doesn’t matter to a corporate raider….it’s always about out doing their last deal and showing they can gut it more than the others. They’re in competition with themselves and other clubhouse members. Disney is a huge feather in Peltz cap. It’s ego, that simple.
The evidence is more clear now, McCarthy wasn’t alarmed by Chapek’s handling of Disney, she was alarmed by him potentially giving away the Board’s unfettered power to an outsider, Peltz.
Yes, I hope this proxy fight is thwarted because Peltz is no better than Chapek, but it has lit a fire in some sense for CSuites to stop using Disney as their personal piggy bank and focus back on the consumers/guests.
We do have Disney+, mainly for our 6yo to watch content relevant to Disney. But about 3 weeks ago I texted one of my Disney-super-fan friends for a recommendation about anything else he can watch cause he has watched everything age appropriate that we know of, she had nothing to suggest. Yes, time to stop subsidizing Disney+ if the content doesn’t align with consumer demand.
I’d still like to have a Gummi Bears Quick Tunnel ride at WDW 😉
the first thing they need to do is focus on not changing classic rides that actually bring people to the park like Splash Mountain. then figure out a way where they can get people on as many rides/attractions as possible in a day rather than waiting in lines, and finally make things reasonably priced if you pay $2 for a hot dog you are more likely to buy for the whole family than splitting 1 hot dog for mom and Dad that cost $10
I agree with you. I am still flabbergasted that they are retheming one of the top 5 attractions in the whole resort when there are so many others that are crying for an update, renovation, and retheme. Space Mountain was closed and ready to get its much needed renovation. That should be first. The Figment attraction is a joke and after 2 decades, sits there waiting for something better to be put in. Peter Pan, Pooh, and Small World need to be updated, cleaned up, and modernized. Carousel of Progress could use a new last act. The list goes on… It is clear that what they are doing to Splash is an attempt to be “fair and equitable” to some tiny but loud group and that is it. Nobody has been clamoring for a retheme of Splash or a Princess and Frog attraction. If there was a group clamoring for the PaF attraction, there is more than enough space to add one or even old and decrepit rides to retheme (like Figment). They could also alleviate a lot of crowds by building more high capacity attractions. Right now they spend a billion on two attractions that take half a decade to build. They could put in some more simpler dark rides using Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Frozen type technology for a lot less money and less time. There is still a place for these types of rides, Pan, Pooh, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, E.T, over at Universal are all testament to this. All rides do not need to be a $500 Million headliner.
Another excellent article Tom. Perlmutter’s finger prints being all over this makes me highly suspicious, but I do believe that overall the fight will be good for the parks. While Disney+ is more of a part of my day-to-day life (due to having a toddler) than the parks, I’ve been unhappy with prices soaring in the parks to subsidize it. Switching focus to profitability instead of growth is a major change that should pay off with benefits to the parks and hopefully little to no loss of quality on D+.
Another excellent, well balanced and informative article – we hope that the current direction of travel continues, and the positive developments keep coming. Based over the pond in the UK, and whilst being a DVC member since 1998, our last visit to DisneyWorld was Jan 2020, and we look forward to returning in 2024. We’ve been following your blog for a number of years, and have been grateful to you for keeping us in touch with all things Disney, although we have been horrified with the continual raft of price increases, and hope we see a return to a more balanced approach.
Great analysis as always. In all this talk about DisneyWar 2.0 and the comparisons between Eisner and Iger, I wonder if it’s time for the company to revisit Eisner’s old strategy of singles and doubles on the screen. Like you, I’ve reached my saturation point with Marvel, and my disappointment with what they’ve done with Star Wars has left a sour taste in my mouth.
I’m a much bigger fan of the parks than anything else the company oversees. Maybe this is naive of me to say, but I’m ready for company leadership to treat the parks as the crown jewels that they are rather than as tools for extortion.
I see a parallel between the Iger years and the Eisner years. Eisner reinvigorated Disney intially but then in later years hurt the company. Likewise Iger intially made Disney boom but has struggled in the lst few years. Capek is a red herring in my opinion. I do not lay blame but think this is probably a natural cycle. Eisner did great things for Disney and Iger did as well. Capek never had a chance in my opininon to make a difference ( If he could). Time for new blood and new creativity. Maybe pull back some of the old creativity that left in the last few years.(Joe Rhode and others).
Just the thought of an old grouchy Disney fan who grew up on Sunday evening World of Disney.
What is Peltz compelling argument for getting a seat. If Disney focuses on profitability as the key measure for Disney+, what argument does he have? Iger just needs to prove he won’t be chasing pie in the sky as Chapek did.
That being said, the Board waited way too long in addressing Chapek’s shortcomings.
Hey Tom, any chance you’ll write the DisneyWar sequel? Ended up reading it a couple years back due to your suggestion and was thoroughly engrossed; this article seems like a great jumping off point for whenever *this* Disney executive saga inevitably comes to an end
Someone else asked that in the comments to a prior post and this was my response:
Even if I were capable of writing such a book (and that’s a huge “if”), it’s not something I’d want to do for a few reasons. The biggest of those is permanence. I actually really like the blog format. It’s dynamic and gives me the chance to engage with readers, revisit topics, and change my approach when something doesn’t quite land–or I later feel I missed a key point. (In fact, I plan on doing exactly this with the “Restore the Magic” campaign either tomorrow or Friday.)
I’m the same way with photos and, much to her consternation, have never let Sarah print one of mine for display on our wall. The idea of being ‘stuck’ with something that could be improved would drive me crazy, and all of the little imperfections would be amplified. I’m hardly a perfectionist, so I’m not really sure what this is all about, but it is what it is.
Not letting your wife put any of your amazing photography on the walls of your home because all you will see are the imperfections and areas that could be improved sure sounds like a classic perfectionist to me – at least when it comes to your art.
I would certainly read the sequel to Disney Wars by Tom Bricker
This may be a dumb question but I will certainly appreciate it if you take the time to answer – why did Disney have to file this presentation with the SEC? Was it a regulatory requirement or is the filing part of a show for investors? Thank you for writing such interesting and thoughtful articles!
Not a dumb question! Proxy statements are required by the SEC whenever a company is submitting a proposal for shareholder vote. In this case, that’s the board of directors–and Disney’s call to action is rejecting the Peltz/Trian proposal and voting in favor of Disney’s slate of directors.
They aren’t required to do this in Powerpoint form or even a presentation like this–it could’ve been a single sentence (or two). This was simply a stylistic choice, but probably a good one given how much media coverage this has already garnered.
“From my perspective, this is great news–I don’t really care about Disney+ and am tired of the theme parks subsidizing other folly and failures. Others may disagree, and that’s fine.”
I could not agree more. However that doesn’t mean that people who feel this way don’t care about new content—it’s a question of quality vs. Quantity. I would prefer the company spend its money on giving us another original Disney animation studios film with quality animation, songs, and story, such as Encanto, Frozen, or Moana, rather than another straight to Disney+ spinoff series focused on some minor character from Star Wars or marvel!
The D+ as a IP growth engine only works if you’re producing content that people actually want to invest in. The classic Disney model has been to build properties that cut across huge swaths of demographics without significantly alienating a sizeable proportion (Encanto, The Mandalorian). What we’ve seen in late era Iger and Chapek was a focus on “high roller” items with riskier IP. Build Star Wars Land, but instead of using the universally loved original trilogy characters / settings, roll the dice with divisive Sequel trilogy and a super high end boutique hotel experience that is priced out for 95% of your fan base. Risk a universally beloved Pixar property (Buzz Lightyear) by radically changing story from the base and interjecting potentially divisive content. Plan for high end generic DVC villas (the new Poly DVC and the abandoned Fort Wilderness one) while cutting back on themed properties that appeal and can be used by the masses. I’m not going to say that Peltz is altruistic, but to say that the current Board and executive leadership has done a “good” job in shepherding long term health of the company as a whole is also not true.
100% agreed – Go back to delivering “The Disney Difference” & stay out of unwinnable political/societal issues and just tell good stories. Oh, and the “The last of us” is not on D+.
Great article. Reading these articles reminds me how little I know about what the world of a C-Suite executive is really like.
Corporate Disney is a complex system, and complex systems have complex interactions. It’s really challenging to understand the interplay between, well, everything.
Appreciate this outlet as always; these are fun reads. Thank you!
I think d+ is an engine to feed IP to the parks and drive new rides and experiences, and that synergy shouldn’t be overlooked or sold short. Last time I was at Epcot, the line to meet Mirabel was *far* longer than the line to meet Donald Duck in a serape. I think Peltz overlooks that.
I mean, what would I pay for a Mando or Andor
weekend at Galactic Starcruiser? A lot. The TRON ride looks great and fun, and I loved TRON when it came out like 25 years ago. The ride is fun but the IP is meh. But a weekend on the Razor Crest? Hell yeah.
I think Mirabel is a bad example–the case could be made that Encanto would’ve been an even bigger cultural phenomenon had it been released in theaters before streaming. The lines for Anna and Elsa when they first appeared were absolutely insane!
To be clear, I think synergy and Disney’s flywheel are important. Disney+ offers tremendous strategic value and will be one of the winners of the streaming wars. It may not be my personal favorite, but I don’t doubt for a second that it’ll be a success story over time.
It can also be true that Disney (and other media companies) have let spending on these nascent streaming services get out of control and continued to do so even after there should’ve been a shift from growth to profitability. Hindsight is 20/20 about Encanto, and that was a tough decision when it was released. However, by the time Hocus Pocus 2 rolled around, I think it was pretty obvious that a theatrical release before D+ made sense and would’ve been the most financially responsible decision.
They also should stop making content just for the sake of having more. There are a bunch of obvious examples, but I’d extend that to more popular shows–are the Willow or National Treasure series going to justify their high costs?
Encanto was released in theaters before streaming. Granted it was a limited run, only 30 days in theaters before releasing on Disney+, but COVID threw a wrench at many movies during this time. It still grossed $256.5 million in it’s limited theatrical run.
Well written. I appreciate you, team.
Re: my thoughts, I’m more biased towards current management because Chapek wasn’t successful in several ways and they had the courage to make a change, even if it wasn’t handled optimally (e.g., severance values). And I’m a fan of Iger, both as a strategic thinker and a fanciful business man, so seeing him back is nice for me. I’m relatively small investor, so my votes are nearly irrelevant, but I lean towards current management in the proxy fight.
While I do think Disney+ was correctly operated like a tech company and pushing growth over profit while Wall Street was rewarding such actions, there indeed should have been a plan in place to shift priorities the moment the market decided that streaming services were entertainment products rather than tech products. Ironically, Chapek could have used his centralized power over budgets to move faster on that once entertainment stocks took a tumble, but instead of doing something he chose to … misrepresent spending to pretend he had done something.
Maybe I’ll finally find out which rumors about Perlmutter ridiculously cutting costs at Marvel are actually verifiable? Probably not.
As an aside, it’s depressing to think that twenty three months counts as long term today, but that’s a knock on pretty much everyone everywhere and certainly on both sides here. (D’Amaro doing Blue Sky pitches at D23 seemed like the most public example of how there was few long term plans at WDW, at any rate.)
As a Disney Parks fan first and a Disney fan second, I agree that putting the focus on the parks is a really good consequence of this shareholder battle, even if it unintended.
Disney has the worst reputation of all American Corporations! First hand from each guest that visits! Disney is a failure and continues a failure path!! The lack of common knowledge on how to run a buisness is in unprecedented!! The concern to anything other than making more money is absent!!
Mark my words Disney is falling from the rankings on amusement parks and will be under many within years!
Here’s the last line of the post, because it’s already clear some of you missed it: “Note that neither Disney nor Peltz brought up politics or culture wars in their presentations; as such, all off-topic comments about either will be deleted.”
If I’m being honest, I usually skip over the “YOUR THOUGHTS” last paragraph because it (usually) seems to just be largely boilerplate language. If you want people to not overlook that (I know that I certainly did) then you may want to move this statement above the “YOUR THOUGHTS” paragraph, perhaps as its own mini-paragraph. Good article though, thanks for posting it!
Ditto on Dolphs point.
I’ve never been a fan of Disney+ either. I was annoyed that there would be yet *another* service out there that I would have to pay for, and I held off on a subscription for a long time and am now looking to drop mine (since I only got it for a room discount last fall anyway). But, then again…I don’t know if Disney would have gone so hard on their new streaming content if they hadn’t branched off on their own, so…there’s been some benefits to me as a Star Wars fan.
This is a really enjoyable read, BTW! As someone who has no experience with corporate politics or even economics, you still made it relatable and interesting. It makes me think of battle strategies that occur when you want peace between two sides that are at an impasse – namely, you introduce a greater ‘threat.’ Then suddenly goals align, and it looks like us park-goers will get to reap the rewards regardless of Peltz’s success or failure.
I’m not necessarily “against” Disney Plus–I think it’s smart that the company has a streaming service outside of Hulu, and eventually it’ll be a major player thanks largely to Star Wars and Marvel. There’s just only so much of both that I can handle, and we are way past that point. To each their own, though. I realize I’m more ‘casual’ about both. (I’m far more excited for The Last of Us on HBO than the next season of Mandalorian, which is undoubtedly a minority view among Disney fans.)
My issue is that other divisions have to pick up the slack and offset the massive losses in the DTC segment. Disney+ was always going to lose money for its first few years, but Disney went way too far in chasing Netflix (IMO).
Agreed. Well written and entertaining post. My wife and I (no kids) mostly just keep D+ and HBO Max and cycle through everything else. We enjoy the new Marvel (the Marvel stuff has been entertaining to us but not great, would prefer less series at higher quality) and Star Wars (say what you want… Andor was one of the best shows of 2022 even if it were not Star Wars) content. Mostly tho we use it to throw on the Disney/Pixar/Marvel/SW library of movies. Those alone have value to us at the current pricing. Personally I’m equally excited for Last of Us and Mando.
Incredibly informative and balanced article. Thanks for the education in this subject…as it is fascinating for those have a love for Disney.