The Power Struggle Between Disney and COVID-19

Companies aren’t immune to the coronavirus and that’s certainly the case with the Walt Disney Company. For weeks there’s been a brave face, but how much magic is left in the kingdom? It’s not just Elsa going into the unknown, it’s the entire company.

Fact: Disney will weather the storm. Disney Parks will reopen, it’s just a matter of when? Analysts point to Disney’s healthy balance as proof that the company will weather the storm, but its experience dealing with coronavirus will fundamentally alter the way the nearly 100-year-old business operates moving forward. Even Bob Iger, Disney’s former CEO, has reasserted himself in an effort to carry the company through this.

Although, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Disney will be furloughing over 43,000 Cast Members this week. There are pay cuts across the board and yesterday it was announced that Disney received a $5 billion line of credit from Citi Bank.

An Axios article outlined the current state of the company. Disneyland and Disney World shut last month over the outbreak. Several of Disney’s blockbuster films have been postponed as theaters remain shuttered. The production of other Hollywood titles is being put on hold as social distancing measures are in place. Professional sports have also come to a screeching halt, which directly affects ESPN. Of course, ESPN is an extension of the Walt Disney Company.

Disney cruise lines extended some of its temporary sailing suspensions. The company has closed its resorts and Disney shopping stores worldwide. As a result of the pandemic, Disney’s stock has dropped nearly 30 percentage points as of Monday from its peak in January.

What Disney has right now is Disney+. The wildly successful streaming platform reached 50 million subscribers last week, in just 5 months. Something Netflix and Hulu can’t even compare to within their first few months. There have been mumbles about the lack of adult content on Disney+, but it seems Iger is listening. Consumers began receiving questionnaires about which type of content they’d want to see and he seems to acknowledge the fact that there will be more adult content and movies coming. I can’t speak for every house, but I will say this- Disney+ has been streaming non-stop in ours. It’s one of the few things that are getting my family through this.

Let’s talk silver linings. Disney will reopen, the magic will be there, and we’ll be foaming at the mouths to get a piece of it. My family had a Disney cruise planned for March 23rd and not only are we trying to reschedule, we’re thinking about making our 4-night cruise to a 7! Whomever said “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” wasn’t lying.