One of those changes includes cutting the company’s spending on Marvel and Star Wars-Related content. As to why, Iger says the influx of Marvel TV shows “diluted the focus and attention” on his movies, resulting in disappointing performances at the box office.
When asked if Iger will retire from Marvel and Star Wars, says Iger, “you don’t just step back to focus, but also as part of our cost containment initiative. Spend less on what we do and do less.” Iger also adds that Disney may license some of its original content to other streaming services, rather than keeping it all on Disney Plus.
Disney’s linear business could also undergo some changes. Iger hinted that he will look “broadly” at opportunities for its cable TV networks, such as ABC, National Geographic and FX, which could indicate that Disney is exploring a sale of these channels. “They may not be critical to Disney,” says Iger. “Clearly there is creativity and content that they think is critical to Disney, but the distribution model, the business model that forms the foundation of that business, and that generates huge profits over the years, is definitely broken.”
As for ESPN, Iger says that sports as an industry “is very, very high.” While Disney isn’t looking to spin off the network, Iger says the company could look for “strategic partners” who could help “with distribution or content.” He also adds that it is “inevitable” to take the network off the cable, something that has been strongly hinted at in the recent past.
In addition to the problems Iger internally blames on Chapek, according to a report The Wall Street Journal, Disney is also dealing with strikes by writers and actors that Iger believes are damaging. “There’s a level of expectation that they have that’s just not realistic and they’re adding to a number of challenges that this business already faces that, quite frankly, is very disruptive and dangerous,” Iger says.
Joely Fisher, an actress and national treasurer for SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents Hollywood actors, called Iger’s statement a “lie.” during an interview with CNN. “There are people who are making hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Fisher. “They’re profiting off our backs and if we want a small portion of that ongoing, it’s not unreasonable.”