Bob Iger Confirms Marvel, Star Wars, Disney+ Failure: $4 Billion Streaming Loss

The CEO of Disney talked streaming at the MoffettNathanson Media, Internet & Communications Conference.

bob iger marvel star wars disney plus failure 4 billion loss

Summary

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger admits that Disney lost $4 billion in streaming
  • Iger blames the high volume of content and lack of accountability for the poor quality
  • Iger emphasizes the need to reestablish a connection between creativity and monetization
  • As a result, Marvel has retooled its TV division

No surprise, but Disney CEO Bob Iger comes clean and admits that Disney+ is a massive failure which of course includes all the Marvel and Star Wars projects and shows.

How much of a failure? Iger reveals Disney lost a whopping $4 billion in streaming while appearing at an investor conference on Wednesday; Disney also owns the Hulu streaming service and ESPN+.

Worth a mention is that you obviously lose money on streaming if you don’t have enough subscribers to match the money spent on content (Netflix will spend $17 billion on content this year).

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“We invested too much”

“As we got into the streaming business in a very, very aggressive way, we tried to tell too many stories. Basically we invested too much, way ahead of possible returns. It’s what led to streaming ending up as a $4 billion loss,” Iger said at the conference, reports THR.

Disney+ launched November 12, 2019 with the premiere of the Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, and two years later would see Marvel debut WandaVision.

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“We were removing accountability”

At the conference, Iger doubled down again blaming quantity for the quality not being good but does put blame on the creatives who were given free rein by his predecessor, Bob Chapek, whom he also blames and called out for “lavish and misplaced content spending.”

“It was clear to me that our structure was not working, because we were removing accountability from those that were basically investing the most capital was a mistake,” he argued.  

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“Volume ends up diluting management”

Iger said the result of investing more in content than what can be recouped in profit “resulted in volume and not quality, which turned out to be a mistake.”

THR further points out that Iger “conceded” that a high volume of content was necessary to compete in the streaming wars against rivals like Netflix and Prime Video, but Iger added, “There’s a very fine line that you can cross and get in trouble if your volume ends up diluting management’s attention to what is being made is right. And that’s what happened to us. So I have pulled that back.”

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Reestablished a connection between creativity and monetization

On more than one occasion Iger has stated Disney is pulling back on both Marvel and Star Wars.

Iger offers they are fixing things by not only pulling back on content but that Disney has reestablished a connection between creativity and monetization sides of the studio “to basically help guide what was being made, when it was being made and where, meaning internationally.”

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Disney+ quality should see an improvement?

So the gist of what Iger is stating above is that Bob Chapek gave the greenlight to Disney+ and for creatives to create as much content as they can at an unlimited cost (some of the Marvel shows cost upwards of $200M), but due to so many projects, that stressed the execs overseeing the projects (something said about Feige) which caused a problem with quality.

So we see the creatives working on these projects obviously weren’t the best choices, but Iger spins it that the demand for lots of content is what caused the problems and actually made the projects so bad. If that is the case, then all the Disney+ shows should now start to show an improvement in quality.

As a result of the streaming problems at Disney, Marvel has also retooled its television division, which followed the failure of Secret Invasion and blowing the budgets of shows like She-Hulk. As I have previously said, Marvel has been in turmoil for a while, and I first revealed Marvel was retooling Daredevil: Born Again.

At the recent upfronts, Marvel revealed its new “Marvel Television” division when they promoted Daredevil: Born Again, Agatha, and Ironheart.

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