What Clickbait Media Has Gotten Wrong about Disney

While I was recording my podcast the other day, a friend asked me an unrelated question about Disney.

At this moment, I suddenly had an epiphany about the challenging position Disney faces each day.

theme park

Photo: Disney

For whatever reason, Disney faces an impossible reporting bias, and I can prove it. Here’s what the media gets wrong about Disney.

The False Equivalence of Boycotts

Here’s a headline that may sound familiar:

“Leaders of the Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, voted Wednesday to boycott Walt Disney Co. and its subsidiaries for what it called the company’s “anti-Christian and anti-family direction.””

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Based on recent news, you may read that and think, “I’m not surprised.” After all, Disney’s stance on tolerance doesn’t always align with some concepts of orthodox religion.

I say this as a former Presidential Scholar at a Southern Baptist university. The open-ended nature of the Bible leads to diverse interpretations regarding passages.

bible

Photo:time.com

I don’t want to take you down a different rabbit hole here, but here’s a PBS article about the New Testament taking no stance on sexual orientation.

The Southern Baptist convention DID take a stance, which is what led to this boycott…in 1996.

baptist

Photo:nbcnews.com

Yes, the quote I provided comes from a CNN article in June of 1997. History frequently repeats itself, my friends.

For this reason, we know how well the boycott worked. Here’s a Baptist Press article from 2005 discussing the less-heralded end of the boycott.

Washington post

Photo: Washington post

Here are two different Washington Post articles from last month that chronicle the failures of the boycott.

I’m confident you read all about the recent assault on Disney, especially in Florida. But were you aware of this boycott or the articles describing why it failed?

Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland

Photo: Disney

In a nutshell, that’s the media imbalance that Disney faces. For whatever reason, any attack on the Mouse House garners massive media attention.

Then, after normalcy returns and not much has changed, the follow-up postscript conversations garner little to no attention.

We can already tell this is true after just a month. Let me explain.

Read about Disney Garner More Headlines Than Facts

Reedy Creek

Let’s start with a fact check, thanks to our friends at FactCheck.org.

During April, the heart of the Reedy Creek Improvement District attack, some wild claims went viral on social media.

Reedy Creek

Photo Credit: https://www.worldofwalt.com/disney-private-government-disneys-reedy-creek-improvement-district.html

Many of them failed the laugh test, but that aspect didn’t stop people from spreading the claims.

For whatever reason, that’s how many parts of society work. Unfortunately, we don’t always let the truth stand in the way of a good story.

For example, two of the claims about Disney suggested that protests caused the stock to drop 70 percent, Disney+ subscriptions to fall by 350,000, and attendance to go down by “more than 55%.”

The person who made this tweet was running for office and later deleted the post, presumably because it was laughably wrong.

If you read any of MickeyBlog’s Disney revenue articles two weeks ago, you know that the Parks division earned more than twice as much in 2022 as 2021.

Attendance has proven so impressive that the rules for Disney Genie+ just changed. The product was selling too well, causing longer than anticipated lines in the Lightning Lane queues.

Disney Genie Plus

Photo: Disney

Less than eight months after promising that Disney Genie+ would never sell out, Disney has altered the rules. Now, this service can and frequently will sell out.

That’s happening because of park demand. So none of it is surprising to those of us who keep up with Disney as a business.

tickets

Photo:wdwthemeparks.com

We know that potential tourists spent two years cooped up in their homes. Now, they’re ready to travel. And they all want to go to Disney theme parks!

Disproving the Stock Lie

Attacking the price of Disney stock is one of those things that works as a moving target.

floor

Photo: USAToday

The day of any evaluation factors into the conclusion. However, the 70 percent nonsense never happened.

Even at Disney’s high point in March of 2021, it never crossed $200, peaking at $197.16.

floor

Photo: USAToday

The stock would have to plummet into the $50s to be down 70 percent from its all-time high. And that would represent gradual erosion, not a single causal effect.

You could argue that DIS has fallen in 2022, which is true. After all, it has dropped 30 percent since March 11th.

Netflix

Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Meanwhile, a competitor, Netflix, has watched its stock fall by 50 percent during the same timeframe.

Then, there’s Tesla, which has fallen from $1,145 to $664 in seven weeks. The stock market is in flux now, and Disney is weathering the storm well.

stocks

Photo: measureupgroup.com

Like any other stock, you’d accept some risk in purchasing DIS right now.

Still, as a long-term investment, you’d be happy in five years if you bought at $100 now.

Stock, DIS, Disney Stock

Image: DIS

Disproving the Streaming Lie

Then, there’s the Netflix aspect with streaming.

For the first time in a decade, Netflix’s streaming service lost subscribers during its most recent quarter.

Netflix

Photo: Netflix

That assertion that Disney has faced an abnormal number of cancellations is laughable. I say this because Disney+ gained 7.9 million subscribers in three months.

Now, you could argue that the fiscal quarter happened before the social media/negative headlines, which is true.

Netflix and Disney Era Comes to an End

However, Disney executives have spoken twice since then about the subscriber goals for the service.

They’ve expressed confidence that Disney+ will claim between 230 and 260 million subscribers by the end of 2024.

These executives would break federal laws if they overstated the numbers. In short, Disney+ is heading toward more record gains.

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Photo:seekingalpha.com

I can even prove this via an April chart.

Nielsen recently shared its monthly data for streaming market share. Disney+ claimed some of its best numbers ever with 1.7 percent of the market!

This would have happened during and after the outcry. So, we have data that proves these claims were lies.

What Clickbait Media Has Gotten Wrong

click bait

Photo: buildcreate.com

Look, I’ve written for some sites that use clickbait headlines to grab attention.

I’ve joked with my wife on many occasions that I have sometimes read a tantalizing topic due to the title.

When I clicked it, I felt embarrassed when I recognized that it was my piece.

click bait

Photo: impulsecreative.com

The Dark Arts are alive and well on the internet, and the media functions as a business. They/we earn ad revenue based on internet traffic.

So, I fully understand why headline creators take the low-hanging fruit of Disney to entice people to read.

Cinderella Castle

Photo: Disney

The trick is the follow up. A story doesn’t end once people lose interest.

That 1990s boycott petered out because Disney fans disagreed with their own church and voted with their wallets.

The recent media cycle utilized the ever-dangerous “quotes from both sides” kind of media journalism but didn’t bother to check whose argument proved correct.

floor

Photo: USAToday

We already know from the data that the brouhaha didn’t impact Disney in the least. The next one won’t, either.

As a company, Disney has grown too deeply embedded in our society to suffer due to a few complaints. Nobody wants to admit it, though.

The media as a business doesn’t make any money in describing the status quo. In this regard, Disney’s timeless, multigenerational nature works against it.

stocks

Photo: measureupgroup.com

The sexier story is, “Could Disney collapse?” Of course, it won’t, but ours is a hot take culture now.

If you want to know the reality of Disney’s economics, financial analysts didn’t even ask about Reedy Creek or potential boycotts during those two different executives’ Q&As sessions.

Tinker Bell Magic Kingdom

Nobody in the business world believes it matters any to the bottom line. The only thing that would hurt Disney is a financial recession, but that’s true of every company.

The other stuff is just noise, though.

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