Yahoo Finance entertainment reporter Allie Canal details recent comments made by returning Disney CEO Bob Iger to a town hall of employees.
- All right. Bob Iger holding his first town hall today with Disney employees since being reinstated as CEO over a week ago. Iger posting this tweet, writing he's, quote, "filled with gratitude and excitement to be back" at Disney. Yahoo Finance's Allie now joins us with the details of the town hall. He gets his performance, Allie He started with quoting Hamilton. What did I miss? Quite a bit.
ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yes. I mean, this is a guy that was at Disney for four decades, CEO for 15 years. He's a beloved figure, especially when it comes to the Disney workers. I did have a chance to speak with one Disney employee, who told me that he's really optimistic for the future, that he's really glad Bob Iger is back in the CEO seat. But probably the most important element, the most important piece, that we got from this town hall was Iger holding firm on those hiring freezes that we saw from Bob Chapek earlier this month. He says that those will not be halted.
I think that means potential layoffs are probably on the table as well, and I think this all has to do with Disney's quest for profitability. And Iger did say that streaming profitability is very important. The company will no longer chase subscribers since Wall Street, no longer cares about those. So that's something to watch, and I think we're going to continue to see Iger really flesh out his business strategy moving forward.
Another thing that Iger will not do is M&A, at least right now. He said he's pretty content with Disney's current asset class. And a lot of analysts have been curious about this since Iger had been so instrumental when it comes to leading some of the top M&A deals for Disney over his tenure previously. But he said that's not going to happen. He also shut down reports that Apple is buying Disney media world was having a field day with that. He said no. That's just rumors, just speculation.
And then finally, another point I want to call out has to deal with the theme park business. He said that he'll reexamine the theme park reservation system. And this is an area that Iger will have to reassess. Chapek, he came into the CEO role as the theme park guy, and through his leadership, we did see the theme park consistently outperform. However, now with this macroeconomic backdrop, the fact that he raised prices across the board, that didn't sit well with a lot of fans. And according to "The Wall Street Journal," Iger was shocked at how quickly those prices went up over Chapek's tenure.
So that's going to be something to watch as well. So we got little bits and pieces. I still think there's more to come from Iger and his start-- restart, I guess I should say, here at Disney, but for now, that's what we got.
- Well, one quick follow up on the subscribers-- one note, he said he wants to chase profitability from streaming rather than new subscribers, so not fixating on the bottom line number or the top line number, however you want to say it, but profitability, meaning cost cuts?
ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah. And I think that's what we're seeing with the fact that he's holding those hiring freezes. We heard from Bob Chapek before he was ousted that that was something that the company was aggressively going to target. So I think cost-cutting is a real driver here that will continue to be a focus for Disney. And the theme parks have also really powered a lot of DTC. So at what point do you look at your theme park business and really consider whether that should continue to be the driving force, especially with all this uncertainty?
- Leads me to believe maybe they will not be bidding on the NBA deal. That's going to be in the neighborhood of $70 billion a year, and you can't cost-cut your way to grabbing the NBA. Interesting. Good stuff. Allie Canal, thank you so much.