Et is almost exactly three years ago that the entertainment group Walt Disney launched its streaming service Disney+ and declared war on Netflix. It was the last major project for longtime CEO Bob Iger before he resigned a few months later. Iger had prepared the group well for its offensive in the streaming business. Over the course of his tenure, he has amassed powerful content through acquisitions such as the “Star Wars” studio Lucasfilm and the superhero forge Marvel to ensure Disney+ has a full range right from the start.
In many ways, Disney+ is a huge success. The service has been adding subscribers at a rapid pace, last counting 164 million. That’s not so far removed from the 223 million customers that Netflix has. But more and more it turns out how dearly Disney bought this success. When it reported its quarterly earnings two weeks ago, Disney reported a nearly $1.5 billion loss for its streaming business, which includes the platforms Hulu and ESPN+. That was more than twice as much as a year ago and significantly more than analysts had expected. These huge losses may have contributed to the personnel bang that Disney announced on Sunday evening. Iger’s successor, Bob Chapek, was abruptly replaced, and Iger himself is returning to the board of directors in his place.