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The Walt Disney Company is a global entertainment company that operates a broad range of businesses, including theme parks, resorts, a cruise line, broadcast TV networks, and related products. Disney also produces live entertainment events, and produces and streams a wide range of film and TV entertainment content through its relatively new digital streaming services. The Walt Disney Co. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol, DIS.
Founded in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, the company now boasts a market capitalization of $256 billion (as of Nov. 17 2020) and generated annual net income of $11.6 billion on annual revenue of $69.6 billion during its 2019 fiscal year (FY), which ended September 28, 2020.
Under the leadership of Bob Chapek, who took over from Robert Iger as the company’s CEO in February 2020, the company operates through the following business segments: Media Networks; Parks, Experiences and Products; Studio Entertainment; and Direct-to-Consumer and International.
The Walt Disney World theme park in Florida reopened in July after closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, COVID-19 cases have since escalated in Florida, with officials having reported the highest level of new infections of any U.S. state.
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Disney’s Latest Developments
- On April 30, 2021 Disneyland reopened after shutting in March of 2020. Currently, only California residents can visit the part and may not come in groups of more than three per household due to COVID-19.
- On April 21, 2021, Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a deal that would give Disney U.S. television and streaming rights to Sony’s movies. However, due to a deal Sony and Netflix announced earlier in April, the rights will only begin for each movie after a period during which Netflix has exclusive rights.
- On April 13, 2021 Disney released a blog post announcing that it is broadening the dress code for park employees. Changes include allowing a wider array of hair, jewelry, and costume styles to allow a wider variety of cultural and gender expressions. The change comes as part of a broader effort to make the park more inclusive to all people.
- On March 9, 2021 Disney announced that its streaming service, Disney+ had surpassed 100 million paid subscribers. For reference, Netflix had just over 200 million at the end of 2020.
- On Feb. 11, 2021 Disney announced earnings for the first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year (FY) which ended Jan. 2, 2021. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.32, a 79% drop from the previous year’s $1.53 a share. Revenue fell less severely, but still substantially, by 22%, down to $16.2 from $20.9 billion at the end of its 2020 fiscal year. The biggest hit was to the company’s “Parks, Experiences and Products,” segment, which has suffered substantially since mid-2020 as Disney’s parks have been closed or at reduced capacity and its cruises have been suspended.