Bob Iger Returns To Help Disney Through COVID; Quibi Hits 1.7M Downloads In Week One

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Bob’s Back

Bob Iger is getting sucked back into Disney management after stepping down as CEO in February. Disney’s business is heavily reliant on people gathering – in theme parks, at movie studios, in theaters and on cruise ships. Disney is losing as much as $30 million per day right now, The New York Times reports. Iger is focused on repositioning Disney to do business differently as it deals with and emerges from the crisis. Iger, for one, predicts the demise of money sinkholes, including the upfronts and endless pilot production. He also said Disney will likely move forward with less office space and fewer employees. The company, which employed over 220,000 people as of last summer, has laid off and furloughed thousands as a result of COVID-19.

Will A Quick Bite Last?

Quibi recorded 1.7 million downloads in its first week. New users are in a 90-day free trial period, so Quibi needs to prove that it can secure those $4.99 per-month commitments. Quibi also needs to grow at a steady clip to remain relevant, since better-known services have a head start (see: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime). CEO Meg Whitman said on CNBC that 80% of viewers watched their first show all the way to the end. Which sounds amazing … although Quibi programs are 10 minutes tops. The name is a portmanteau of “quick” and “bites.” For now, Quibi only has a mobile app, but the company is accelerating plans to cast streams from phones to smart TVs – a major opportunity considering most of its would-be subscribers are stuck at home watching TV apps, and the fact that Quibi has already sold out its first year of advertising.

The Content Void

Streaming viewership is growing like gangbusters, but streaming services face a shortage of fresh content. WarnerMedia has completely shut down production, and will have to launch its streaming service HBO Max next month without its planned “Friends” reunion special or its new anchor drama, “The Flight Attendant.” NBCU’s Peacock, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and other rivals are in a similar production crunch. Netflix is in the best shape, with content lined up through 2020. Studios are leveraging catalogue titles (if they have them) and animation to fill the void, The Wall Street Journal reports. But competition is fierce for entertainment subscriptions right now. Thirty-seven percent of US streaming households would drop a streaming subscription if they experience a job loss. And which would be the first to go? Services without a strong back catalogue or a fresh slate.

But Wait, There’s More

 

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