- Disney’s CEO said audiences’ relationship with theaters had changed forever, Bloomberg reported.
- Bob Chapek said viewers would no longer accept a gap between a theater and on-demand releases.
- Disney will close 60 North American stores and triple its Plus subscribers to 230 million by 2024.
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Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek said moviegoers’ relationship with cinema had changed forever due to the pandemic and that the effects will last in the long-term, Bloomberg reported.
Speaking at a media and technology conference hosted by Morgan Stanley, Chapek said the old approach with a gap between when a movie comes out in theaters and when it is available on-demand wasn’t “viable anymore.”
“The consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before, particularly since now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them,” Chapek said. “I’m not sure there’s going back.”
According to Bloomberg, Disney had the largest market share of any movie distributor before the pandemic hit, so any shift in focus to streaming will definitely be felt in movie theaters.
In February, the company announced its flagship service Disney Plus had hit 95 million subscribers, bringing the total number of subscriptions across all streaming services to 146 million, according to an earnings report.
Disney expects to treble the number of Disney Plus subscribers to between 230 and 260 million by 2024 and will double its investment in original content to about $15 billion over the next four years.
On Wednesday, the company announced it would shut 60 stores across North America to focus on a “more flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience.”
“This is the perfect time to make operational changes,” said Chapek, who took over the reins at Disney in February 2020 from former CEO Bob Iger.