Disney Finally Reanimates Innovation

Jon Markman

Is this the day Disney () finally becomes a technology company? The business has been steadily moving in that direction.

It was three years ago that the House of Mouse started to acquire the infrastructure to competently stream media content to millions of homes. The content deals followed.

Last evening Disney reported so-so financial results. Its real world businesses are suffering. Who knew tourists wouldn’t want to take their kids to Space Mountain in the middle of a pandemic?

But the streaming media business is booming. Disney Plus now has 60.5 million paying customers. And that’s starting from standing still only 9 months ago. The service is so popular Disney Studios is releasing Mulan, a live action remake of its 1998 animated film, directly to Disney Plus next month.

According to a story at Variety, subscribers will have to pay an additional $29.99 but they will get a first run, big budget summer blockbuster delivered to the comfort of their living rooms, smartphones or tablets. That certainly feels like a technology company move.

Investors have been reluctant to give Disney managers the benefit of doubt in 2020. The idea of theme parks, cruise lines and movies playing in theaters didn’t play well with the global pandemic. Consequently, shares, down 10% in 2020, got a multiple more in line with old world conglomerates.

The Disney Plus news, coupled with Mulan suggests change is in the wind. That could mean a big price increase for Disney shareholders. 

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