10 Quick Takeaways: Disney at the 9th Annual MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit

  1. Boardwalk Times: Stories from the Seashore

Today, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy and Rita Ferro, President of Disney Ad Sales participated in a question-and-answer session at the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit. Most of the answers were just building blocks on stuff we already learned from the quarter two call. If you haven’t already go read my analysis and recap on that.

But let’s just dive right into…

  • McCarthy says they expect a strong second half of the year for Disney+ subscriber growth but she also warns the growth may not be as significant as the first two quarters. But with new market expansions and a ton of new content, I have to expect Disney+ will exceed expectations?
  • McCarthy was once again asked about ESPN going direct-to-consumer. Her answers today provided clarity that they think of ESPN+ as a complementary product and that if ESPN would ever go full throttle DTC with shifting sports rights they would create a whole new product. (Likely just named ESPN and McCarthy didn’t rule out ESPN+ remaining as a niche digital product in the far future when this happens).
  • Disney Ad Server integrates all of Disney’s ad operations. Disney also revealed their ad load will be four minutes or less per hour on average. The ad frequency will be one per hour, two per day, and 12 per week. All ads on Disney+ will follow Disney’s brand guidelines (alcohol and political ads won’t be appearing on Disney+).
  • Some quick numbers: 62% of Disney+ subscribers are adults without kids, 53% of Disney+ subscribers are cordless, and 65% of Disney+ subscribers say movies were the reason they subscribed.
  • Crypto and sports betting are advertising hard on linear (question begs for how long though?)
  • McCarthy says Disney has heard from subscribers they want more general entertainment and they plan to do that.
  • McCarthy also debunked that Disney+ has every Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm diehard already signed up. She simply said “not true” and to me, that means there could be more growth there as the series amount increases.
  • McCarthy listed three things that are underappreciated about the Disney Parks. The cast members, creativity, and keeping the parks relevant.
  • McCarthy says the best film performances since the box office reemergence have been action, superhero, and adventure. She says Disney likes that they can build franchises from the theatrical experience.
  • McCarthy says Disney+ can also build franchises and she cites The Mandalorian. I really thought she was going to use Encanto for her example.
  • Bonus: Disney’s Ad Business seems to be growing and it will be exciting to see what they do with it not just with linear but with Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.

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Zach Perilstein is the Editor-in-Chief of the Boardwalk Times