Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, recently discussed the company’s next moves during the quarterly earnings report. He emphasized that streaming is Disney’s future, but the focus now is on extracting more money from subscribers to offset the losses incurred in the streaming division. Disney+ has lost over $11 billion since 2019, and as a result, Mr. Iger plans to raise prices for Disney+ and Hulu, following Netflix’s example. The monthly cost of Disney+ will double to $14 starting in October.
Another area where Disney is taking cues from Netflix is in cracking down on password sharing. The earnings report also highlighted the need for change at ESPN, which is facing challenges from cable cord-cutting and the rising cost of sports broadcast rights. Mr. Iger mentioned ESPN’s new online-betting venture with Penn Gaming as a way to engage more subscribers.
When asked about potential deals, including a sale of Disney’s legacy TV businesses, Mr. Iger stated that the company is considering various options but intends to keep its TV production studios for streaming content. He also addressed speculation about a possible sale of Disney to Apple, mentioning the regulatory environment as an important factor to consider.
Investors reacted positively to the earnings report, with Disney shares rising nearly 1.7 percent in after-hours trading. However, they are eager to see Mr. Iger’s long-term strategy for the company.
In other news, wildfires in Maui have caused significant damage, with at least 36 deaths reported. Climate change has made the state more susceptible to wildfires due to reduced rainfall.
Saudi Arabia and the United States are reportedly close to reaching an agreement on recognizing Israel. The deal would involve the Saudis opening diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for aid to Palestinians. Further negotiations are expected.
Coronavirus hospitalizations in the United States are on the rise. Hospital admissions in the last week of July increased by 43 percent compared to the end of June. This may be attributed to the heat and waning protection from Covid vaccines. However, experts believe that the upcoming updated vaccines will help mitigate the situation.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account has emerged as a focus in the special counsel’s investigation. The special counsel obtained a search warrant for Trump’s account earlier this year without notifying him. Additionally, Twitter (now known as X) was fined $350,000 for failing to meet a Justice Department deadline to comply with the warrant.
Inflation data for July will be published today, with a focus on the core inflation number. Economists expect a slight increase in the Consumer Price Index compared to June. The core inflation reading, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, is anticipated to be stable, suggesting that price rises are moderating.
President Biden’s latest executive order restricts investments in key Chinese sectors related to sensitive technologies. The move aims to limit China’s military advancement using these technologies. The impact of these restrictions is expected to be relatively narrow, mainly affecting private equity and venture capital firms involved in joint ventures with Chinese entities.
China’s response to the executive order is awaited, although it is unclear whether a reciprocal move by Beijing would have a significant impact, considering that Chinese investment in the United States is already low. Analysts believe China may choose a response that has a noticeable effect.