Disney Takes Massive Hit

Quarterly profit drops by 91%
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2020 1:51 AM CDT
Disney Takes Massive Hit
In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a visitor to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., takes a photo through a locked gate at the entrance.   (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP, File)

Disney announced Tuesday that its quarterly profit had fallen 91% from a year earlier. As the New York Times notes, that massive hit "was for a period that was only partly affected by the coronavirus," and with theme parks and movie theaters closed across the globe, TV advertising plunging, and many people cutting cable due to budget concerns, there's no end in sight. New CEO Bob Chapek wouldn't say when Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida might reopen, nor when shooting on Disney's many movie projects might start up again. The quarter ended March 30, meaning Disney World was only closed for 17 days of it—and could be closed for the entirety of the current quarter.

"Our businesses have been hugely impacted," Chapek said on the call. "We’re doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of the cash burn." Theme park employees are furloughed, executives are taking big pay cuts, and the company's board voted to forgo its summer dividend payment in order to preserve around $1.6 billion in cash. In one bright spot for the company, Shanghai Disneyland will reopen May 11 with temperature checks, mandated masks, socially-distant ride seating and lines, advance reservations, and limits on capacity. The theme park closed in late January due to the coronavirus in China. And, as the AP reports, Disney's streaming service is also doing well: Disney+ has 54.5 million subscribers, compared to the 183 million Netflix has spent years collecting. (Abigail Disney didn't hold back on her thoughts on the company's position.)

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