Things seem to be getting worse and worse for the Walt Disney Company, as a major report has emerged indicating that the company may ditch some of its most profitable assets in the new year.
On Thursday, Fox Business reported that Wells Fargo analysts predicted that Disney would part ways with ESPN and ABC in late 2023 as part of an effort by returning CEO Bob Iger to focus on content and cost rationalization.
While ESPN, which is 80 percent owned by Disney, has been described as a “cash cow” for the company, Fox Business states that “linear and sports trends are diverging from the core IP.”
Thus, the analysts at Wells Fargo have concluded that “severing the company is increasingly logical.”
The report also notes that ESPN and ABC are integrally linked, and the different ways of monetization between licensed and owned IPs will eventually lead to the spinoff of ESPN and ABC from the Disney company.
This is just the latest and perhaps most dire sign of a serious crisis at Disney that has emerged over the past year.
For Disney, 2022 was not a good year. It saw several major blockbusters fall flat at the box office, and it saw the company engage in political battles that saw its image tarnished in the minds of conservative Christians.
In fact, the two problems are linked. Many of Disney’s box office failures in 2022 were a direct result of the woke stance that the company had taken.
It started in the spring of this year when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis passed the Parental Rights in Education Act, which forbade education about sexuality to young children at Florida public schools. The act was derided by leftists as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
One of the most vocal of these leftist opponents was Disney, which, seemingly unaware that many parents did not want woke sexual politics rammed down their child’s throat in school, kicked up a huge stink about the new law.
The ensuing political firestorm resulted in DeSantis revoking Disney’s self-governing status due to their opposition to the bill.
Then, in what Disney thought was a brilliant rejoinder to DeSantis, in June, Disney released the “Toy Story” spinoff “Lightyear”, which featured a lesbian kiss scene. After an outcry from parents and woke posturing by the leftist actors involved in the project, the film fell flat at the box office, making only $51 million in its first week as opposed to the $70 to $85 million that it was predicted to make.
But that was not the only woke blunder that the company made. Last month, Disney released “Strange World” which featured the company’s “first openly gay teen star.” Much like “Lightyear”, it flopped at the box office.
It was not just the woke films that have bombed. Last week, Disney released “Avatar: The Way of Water” a sequel to the highly acclaimed “Avatar.” But even that failed to bring in the expected revenue.
All these disasters have convinced Disney to bring back Bob Iger as CEO, who promised that under his leadership, the company would not embroil itself in leftist culture wars. But it may already be too late, as it seems Disney is crumbling.
Yes, “go woke, go broke” may seem to be a cliche, but it has proven time and again to be true. People are tired of corporations ramming leftist politics down their throats.
Disney is paying the price for going woke, and having to part ways with “cash cows” like ESPN indicates that it may be on the verge of collapse. If this can happen to Disney, other companies must take heed to avoid the same fate.
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