Disney says its ‘primary focus’ for entertainment is streaming — announces a major reorg

Disney is restructuring its media and entertainment divisions, as streaming becomes the most important facet of the company’s media business.

On Monday, the company revealed that in order to further accelerate its direct-to-consumer strategy, it would be centralizing its media businesses into a single organization that will be responsible for content distribution, ad sales and Disney+.

Shares of the company jumped more than 5% during after-hours trading following the announcement.

The move by Disney comes as the global coronavirus pandemic has crippled its theatrical business and ushered more customers toward its streaming options. As of August, Disney has 100 million paid subscribers across its streaming offerings, more than half of whom are subscribers to Disney+.

“I would not characterize it as a response to Covid,” CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin on “Closing Bell” on Monday. “I would say Covid accelerated the rate at which we made this transition, but this transition was going to happen anyway.”

“We are tilting the scale pretty dramatically [toward streaming],” Chapek said on “Closing Bell,” noting that the company is looking at all investments, including dividends, as it seeks to increase its spend on new content. Chapek said the board of directors will have the final say on Disney’s dividend payouts.

Only last week, activist investor Dan Loeb called on Chapek to end the company’s annual $3 billion dividend to divert more capital to new Disney+ content.

www.cnbc.com/2020/10/12/disney-reorganizes-to-focus-on-streaming-direct-to-consumer.html