The Walt Disney Company’s stock value has been in decline for months now. Many speculate that one of the reasons Bob Chapek was removed so quickly, and Bob Iger brought back, was to raise the stock value. That move worked, for a bit, but now the value is back down again, dipping down to $91.77 before settling at $92.15 ahead of the opening bell today.
It seems that the initial excitement from Bob Iger’s return has started to wane. Now he has to find a solution and deliver on his promises to pull Disney back from the brink of further financial disaster. The company is only at the start of his two-year “plan” and other than a few comments, we haven’t seen much of this plan, yet.
(An uptick today is likely though, given the new ad-supported tier launching on Disney+. It’s unclear if that will drive up the stock enough to stay up.)
Disney stock could be seeing a drop because people are being reminded that some of the choices that negatively impacted the company were from Bob Iger, to begin with.
One of the biggest complaints from the theme park guests has been the removal of FastPass+ for paid Genie+. Prices have jumped significantly for the daily option and for Individual Paid Lighting Lane access. Now there is a law suit alleging Disney knowingly infringed on someone else’s patent for the technology.
Iger purchased Lucasfilm and Star Wars but then tossed out George Lucas’s treatment for the highly divisive sequel trilogy. He also had made comments that all Disney needed to do was put the name ‘Star Wars’ on offerings and the company wouldn’t have to promote it because people would simply come. This was an issue later.
Speaking of ‘Star Wars’ the failing Galactic Starcruiser was mostly under Bob Iger.
Bob Iger also significantly overspent on the Fox acquisition, paying over $71 billion, which arguably led to some of the financial issues Disney faced when the pandemic hit.
NBCUniversal is beating Disney in the animation box office and has been since the pandemic. Disney was the gold standard for animation and now their competitor, for both the box office and theme park markets, is pulling ahead of the Walt Disney Company.
Bringing Iger back is more like a band-aid on a gaping hole that he helped to create. Sure, it can hold it the wound together so it can eventually heal, but it’s going to take longer and it’s going to leave a terrible scar.
Succession rumors could also be the cause for stagnation
The news that many think Christine McCarthy is in the running for CEO could also be a cause of the stock drop. She is another financials person and many feel she would be just another Bob Chapek, focused on making money, gouging consumers, and lacking in creativity and vision.
If not McCarthy, then who?
Other names have been mentioned from within the company including: Dana Walden, Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content; Alan Bergman, Chairman, Disney Studios Content; Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; and Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, International Content and Operations.
However, the Walt Disney Company board wants to make sure that whomever is chosen won’t lead to another Bob Chapek situation. So they need the two years to find and train the replacement.
Disney had some fantastic options but potential successors of the past left the company when they realized they would be passed over. People like Thom Staggs and Kevin Mayer. who have started another company called Candle Media. Under this new company, with funding from Blackstone, they acquired one of the biggest names in children’s entertainment–Moonbug Media. Moonbug Media is behind shows like ‘Cocomelon,’ ‘Blippi’ and ‘Little Baby Bum.’ Now Staggs and Mayer are competition to the company they could have led.
What can be done?
Disney stock is almost back to where it was when Bob Chapek was CEO. The Walt Disney Company and their stock value issues can be corrected, but no Disney magic can fix this situation overnight and Iger has his work cut out for him.
A bit of good news could be that their Disney+ ad supported tier launches today. That could help drive up revenue with advertising dollars and non-ad supported tiers seeing a cost increase. It could also backfire if more people cancel over those cost increases.
However, if Disney wants to regain it’s footing long term they need to listen to consumers and focus on bringing back perceived value for the cost.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.