Opinion

Disney Admits More Mistakes With Its Film And TV Content: ‘Not Quality’

Disney’s struggles over the past few years are well documented. The once invincible entertainment giant has, mostly through its own incompetence and arrogance, given away much of the brand credibility and status it once enjoyed.

The film industry’s top family entertainment company, accustomed to rolling out hits from its animation and live action studios, suffered a string of dramatic, unprecedented losses. Movie after movie flopped, with The Marvels becoming one of the biggest financial disasters in film history.

Disney CEO Bob Iger even admitted as much, acknowledging recently that most of the Marvel Studios slate since Avengers: Endgame has been disappointing. 

READ: Bob Iger Admits Marvel Movies Haven’t Been Good, Pledges To Make Less Of Them

But it’s not just Marvel that’s struggled. And Iger, showing some small level of awareness, said so at MoffettNathanson’s 2024 Media, Internet and Communications Conference in New York on Wednesday.

Iger said during the conference that when Disney jumped into the streaming business with Disney+, they spent too much money to create shows and content to attract subscribers. And it didn’t work.

“As we got into the streaming business in a very, very aggressive way… basically, we invested too much,” outpacing “what was truly monetizable,” he said. “It resulted in volume, not quality,” as well as racking up billions of losses on the streaming platform.

Gee, no kidding.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was one of the most embarrassing shows ever released by a major entertainment studio. The series currently has a 5.2/10 rating on iMDb and was canceled after just nine episodes. While Andor and The Mandalorian have been successful, many other shows, like National Treasure: Edge of History have been critical failures.

As has become Disney’s M.O. in the late Iger-early Bob Chapek era, content would check the correct diversity, equity and inclusion boxes, but lack any discernible quality. Stunningly, that strategy has not been successful.

Now, Iger’s being forced to change strategy, including reducing their budget for shows created for television networks.

They’ve made the decision “to reduce pretty dramatically our investment in content specifically aimed at those traditional networks,” Iger said. He also acknowledged that “it’s not a growth business, but it could become an important component to our ability to basically engage with the consumer.”

It could be a growth business. If Disney made quality content. 

This is a case study for what happens when companies lose focus on what made them successful. Disney was known worldwide for its family-friendly entertainment that parents could enjoy with their kids. Instead, they’ve become a factory for untalented activists, who use their platforms to sell an agenda that most of the country, especially the family audience, rejects.

They’ve now lost the benefit of the doubt with consumers, and their films’ financial results show it. Iger has a lot of work to do to recover that trust, and given how little interest he’s shown in acknowledging his political mistakes, it’s not likely he’ll succeed.

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