A Wall Street expert just described Disney as a consumer tracker. Meanwhile, the company paid $1 billion to keep The Defenders to itself.
We’ve got this and plenty more drama in the latest batch of Disney Headlines.
Keep an eye on Disney
I don’t want to bore you with economics here, but this subject has grown in importance.
Disney just announced its earnings for the first three months of 2022. The parks division soared in popularity, and that matters more than you know.
Since the start of 2020, the world has experienced some crazy stuff. It’s like someone changed the Planet Earth game settings to Ultra Hard mode.
The pandemic has caused supply chain issues to pop up everywhere. Countries that have relied on one another for products can no longer do so.
Even baby formula has turned into a challenging item to track down, which is indescribably stressful for parents.
Then, we have some nonsense in Eastern Europe that has collapsed the economy of a previous world power.
We’re just now feeling the ripple effects of that and will for some time to come. So, in short, inflation is a thing and will be for a while.
The Augurs of Disney
What does this have to do with Disney? Wells Fargo Securities Senior Analyst Steven Cahall believes that we should all pay attention to the Mouse.
As long as Disney does well, the economy should be fine. But, since Team Mickey has its paws in everything, we can track signs of struggle with Disney earnings.
Here’s what Cahall said:
“If you think of someone who has kids and family, they’re probably spending some of their money on Disney every year.
Folks who are into cruises or going to theme parks, they’ll probably have some money going to Disney every year.
If you’re a sports fan, you probably engage with ESPN and have some money being spent every year.
So, when we see the markets going down on the risk of a recession, Disney is going to track some of that to a certain extent.”
Think about the situation like this. Disney’s core businesses include theme parks and other forms of tourism, streaming services, and general entertainment.
Those industries rise when customers have disposable income. So, if Disney’s theme park revenue or streaming numbers drop, those are signs of a flagging economy.
For these reasons, we should feel great about the state of the economy. Disney’s parks and streaming services just reported fantastic earnings!
So, as we discussed last week, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness performed incredibly well in theaters. So, all these signs seem positive for now.
The one drawback with Cahall’s philosophy is that it’s by nature reactionary, though. So we won’t know that Disney has struggled until two months after the fact.
Still, this discussion demonstrates another way that Disney proves integral to American society!
The $1 Billion Question
In 2009, Disney purchased the entirety of Marvel Entertainment in what has proven to be among the best pop culture acquisitions ever.
Disney paid $4 billion for the whole thing. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame grossed $4.8 billion on their own.
Over the years, Disney has developed many ways to monetize its vast library of Marvel superheroes.
But unfortunately, one idea that seemed clever at the time proved problematic.
Disney licenses the rights to some of its characters. At the time, the company had no interest in a streaming service.
After all, much of Disney’s revenue comes from broadcast television. So, the company believed that Netflix wasn’t even competition 10 years ago.
That’s how we got programs like Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist on Netflix.
Back in March, you may recall our discussions about the impending arrival of those programs on Disney+.
Disney built an entire marketing program over its recouping the so-called Defenders license.
By the middle of the month, guests were watching Jessica Jones on Disney+…although hopefully not with any small children. It’s pretty dark.
During Disney’s earnings report, the company revealed the price of doing business.
Netflix received a one-time payout of $1.023 billion in exchange for Disney taking back the streaming rights to Daredevil et al.
As a reminder, that’s only $3 billion less than what Disney paid for Marvel in 2009.
That’s how much Disney values the combination of the Marvel brand and Disney+ as a streaming service.
Disney will pay a billion dollars to retake what it rightfully owns.
The Weird Headlines
I would rather not touch this one with a ten-foot pole, but I know some of you are asking about it.
You may recall that Florida’s governor scored some headlines by picking a fight with Disney, partially to elevate his national profile for a potential presidential campaign.
Well, other politicians want to run for president as well. They’ve watched what happened and decided that they wanted to jump on the bandwagon.
Specifically, one Senator in the minority party has suggested something that doesn’t have the votes to pass right now.
Even if the law could pass, it’d come with serious questions about its legality. But the gist is that copyright law would drop to 56 years.
If that number sounds precise, that’s not accidental. Instead, it’s a blatant attempt to rob Disney of some current copyright protections.
Yes, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are among the targets. However, the proposal goes a step beyond that to slap at Disney.
You Are Not Gonna Believe This One
I’ll let Yahoo! Finance explain:
“The bill would also retroactively apply to firms with a market cap of over $150 billion that operate in the motion picture industry, aka this is really targeting Disney, its slew of animated characters, most notably Mickey Mouse.
And a little bit of background here. Since 1928, the original Mickey Mouse, which appeared in the animated short film “Steamboat Willie,” has been protected under copyright law.
Disney has twice lobbied Congress for extensions, which has allowed it 94 years of exclusive rights to media and merchandise.
But in 2024, the copyright protection for that particular image of Mickey Mouse, which you’re seeing on your screen right now, that is set to expire.
It will then be released into the public domain. (The politician’s) goal here is really to ensure that Disney is not able to receive another copyright extension.”
Yes, someone wants to create a bill that openly targets Disney by removing any possibility of Disney copyrighting Mickey Mouse ever again.
This bill cannot pass now, but it could turn into a possibility during the next legislative session in 2023, depending on upcoming election results.
Still, Disney does face a struggle to protect its Mickey Mouse exclusivity beyond 2024.
As weird as the thought may be, some people keep trying to score political points by taking shots at Disney, the world’s most family-friendly business.
Feature Image: Disney