In an interview with CNBC last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger offered a sobering and frank analysis of the state of the company and the industry overall.
Iger admitted to fundamental mistakes Disney has made in how handling the creative properties of its major studios, particularly Marvel and Pixar. In its effort to produce a sufficient volume of new content to showcase on Disney+, the company “diluted focus and attention” from important franchises such as Marvel, which resulted in lower-quality output.
When CNBC’s David Farber asked Iger if there would be fewer new Marvel titles going forward, the CEO confirmed that he was focused on improving the quality of Marvel releases, while at the same time meeting the goal of $5.5 billion in “cost containment” across the company.
Iger attributed the underperformance of recent Pixar releases to the combination of Disney’s COVID policy of releasing Pixar films exclusively on Disney+ and the “creative failures” of LIGHTYEAR and ELEMENTAL, suggesting that Pixar has been struggling through a valley but hopes it can return to a “peak” in the near future.
Iger also suggested that Disney’s linear TV properties FX, National Geographic, and ABC may all wind up being sold as non-core assets to the company. The sports network ESPN, however, was not currently being considered for sale. He also suggested that Hollywood writers were “unrealistic” in their contract demands.
Iger’s far-ranging comments sent shockwaves, showing the unrivaled influence that Iger holds across the entertainment industry. The most far-reaching and impactful commentary was his opinion that linear TV is operating with a “doomed business model,” going far toward sealing the fate of cable TV.
See also: Disney pulling back on making Marvel, Star Wars content, Iger says (CNBC)