Disney’s top dog Bob Iger was back on the company earnings call for the first time in his second tenure as CEO on Wednesday, where he spoke to investors on Q1 numbers, announced the upcoming layoff of 7000 staffers, and revealed sweeping changes that kind of make it sound like austerity has come to the House of Mouse.
“Our company is fueled by storytelling and creativity,” Iger began, perfunctorily. But he clearly had other things to talk about.
The two-time company leader told listeners there would be a corporate-wide restructuring, and the words “cost-effective” were included. “We are targeting $5.5 billion of cost savings across the company,” he revealed. The three new segments under the reorganization will be Entertainment, ESPN, and Parks, Experience, and Products; Iger said he expected $3 billion in savings from the content side of the company in the next few years.
Next was the layoffs. Iger’s predecessor Bob Chapek referenced that this could be happening in November and today, it was announced that 7,000 workers will be cut from Disney’s 190,000-person workforce.
As for the gloomy news for the creative side, Iger announced that the company will establish a “direct link between content decisions and financial performance,” although he did not elaborate on details of how that will work.
While Iger touted that 21st Century Fox led all the studios in Oscar nominations and won more Golden Globes than any other studio, he followed that up with the directive that from here on out, creatives are just going to have to make their movies cheaper.
“We still want the quality,” he said. “But it’s getting expensive.”
In fact, there will be a “more aggressive curation” of content designed for the “delivery the profitability,” Iger said, later explaining to an analyst that Disney had to “take a hard look at the cost of everything we make.” That was why, he repeated, leadership would be “relinking the creative side with the distribution and the monetization.”
In short, he intends to operate the company more efficiently to increase its profitability.
In a popular move among shareholders announced Tuesday, Disney will bid for the return of the dividend stock, which Chapek eliminated in 2021 due to Covid-related austerity. Now that that’s largely in the past, Iger said Disney’s Board of Directors will be asked to reinstate the perk by the end of the calendar year. It would be a “modest” dividend at first, increasing over time.
And now for the fun stuff: Sequels to the animated smash hits Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia are definitely happening. Franchise sequels—give ’em more!
For those who love going to the parks and seeing new rides—there will be an “exciting Avatar experience”—with the latest entry now the fourth biggest movie of all time, globally—coming to Disneyland at an unspecified date.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.