The activist investor Dan Loeb is dissatisfied with Disney’s current course and wants to see films like “Black Widow” directly on Disney +.
Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek recently let it be known in an interview that the entertainment company will concentrate more on the streaming business with its own Disney + in the future. Whether a big film starts in the cinema or is published directly via Disney +, this decision should be left to the consumer, according to Chapek. It does not seem to be ruled out that even prestigious and potentially successful films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and “Star Wars” films will premiere directly on Disney +.
Disney + is the exclusive home for the MCU, Disney and Pixar productions as well as “Star Wars” films and series: Here you can subscribe.
That in turn should be entirely in the interests of major activist investor Dan Loeb, who holds a stake of around 1.45 billion US dollars in Disney through his third point hedge fund. He recently wrote to Disney boss Chapek asking to suspend the dividend permanently. The resulting savings of almost three billion US dollars are, in his opinion, better off investing in the production of new content for the Disney + streaming service. As an example, he cited the 75 million US dollars that Disney paid for the broadcast rights to the Broadway hit “Hamilton”. Disney generated $ 200 million in new subscription fees.
What exclusive titles does Disney + actually offer? We list them for you:
Disney + versus Netflix: The streaming war can only be won with exclusive content
Away from the cinema and towards the streaming service: Loeb believes that this would only have advantages for Disney, as he did in an interview with Variety affirms:
“I understand that some old-fashioned executives don’t want to overdo it, which is why they postponed Black Widow and other films in 2021. I don’t think they understand the opportunity they are holding, the benefits of this subscription model that everyone from Microsoft to Amazon has already adopted. It is enormously valuable. “
As a prime example, Loeb cites the current streaming king Netflix, who invests billions annually in exclusive productions and makes them available to over 200 million subscribers worldwide at no additional charge. Disney was able to increase its number of subscribers to over 60 million (as of August 2020) in just under a year in order to be able to keep up with Netflix, but Disney has to show even more courage, according to the 58-year-old:
“What Netflix has is this immense subscriber base that allows the company to invest in a tremendous amount of content and thereby gain more subscribers. Disney is still a long way off, but they have to catch up as soon as possible. If they do not achieve a critical mass in their subscriber base, they will be at a disadvantage in the duel with Netflix in the long run. “
What does the future of the “Star Wars” universe look like? Here you can find out:
Disney has to play to its advantage
And Disney has the advantage of popular brands like “Star Wars” as well as MCU films and series and animated films from Pixar. It is important to exploit this advantage; directly and exclusively via Disney +, if Loeb had their way. The cinema, according to the investor, will not completely disappear after the corona crisis, but its importance for films will never be the same. “I wanted to be constructive and offer my support. But I also wanted to clearly show the direction that Disney should take in our opinion, ”says Loeb.
And in his opinion this is not a David versus Goliath fight. Thanks to decades of experience in the entertainment sector and with the strong brands mentioned, all it takes is a little more courage and slight changes in direction to catch up with the competition.
As for “Black Widow”, Disney only recently announced the launch date 6. May 2021 postponed. In times of the corona pandemic, however, this is only temporary and certainly not set in stone. And: No sooner had Loeb written to Disney CEO Chapek than Disney announced a change of direction. On December 10, 2020, further details are to follow on an investor day. So will one or two MCU films be shown exclusively on Disney + in the future? Maybe even “Black Widow” after all? One thing is certain: It looks as if the Third Point hedge fund has once again enforced its interests, as it did with its stakes in Sony, Nestlé or Yahoo.
The second season of the “Star Wars” hit series “The Mandalorian” will start soon on Disney +. You can refresh your memory with this quiz:
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