Disney Expects Losses 'As Much As $1.4 Billion' In 2nd Quarter Of 2020 : Coronavirus Updates The company's new CEO Bob Chapek said on the earnings call Tuesday that when he started in the role, "None of us could've imagined the suffering and sacrifice that we're now seeing around the world."
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Disney Expects Losses 'As Much As $1.4 Billion' In 2nd Quarter Of 2020

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Disney Expects Losses 'As Much As $1.4 Billion' In 2nd Quarter Of 2020

Disney Expects Losses 'As Much As $1.4 Billion' In 2nd Quarter Of 2020

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NOEL KING, HOST:

And speaking of crowds, Disney is all about crowds - parks, resorts, cruises. So for Disney, this pandemic has hurt. We see evidence of that in the company's first quarterly earnings report since the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Blair.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: A lot of Disney's business relies on things people can't do right now, whether it's stand in line at a theme park, go to the movies or attend live sports that are broadcast on ESPN. Bob Chapek recently became Disney's CEO.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BOB CHAPEK: When I stepped into this new job two and a half months ago, none of us could have imagined the suffering and sacrifice that we're now seeing around the world.

BLAIR: More than 100,000 Disney employees have been furloughed, and the Disney board announced it will not pay dividends to shareholders, saving the company $1.6 billion. One area of growth is Disney+, where the number of subscribers exceeded the company's expectations, thanks to shows like "The Mandalorian."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MANDALORIAN")

PEDRO PASCAL: (As The Mandalorian) I don't know if you heard, but the Empire is gone.

BLAIR: Still, the new streaming service isn't yet profitable. Parks and resorts are closed. Cruises are suspended. Ad revenue is down. John Hodulik, an analyst for UBS, says there were other disappointments.

JOHN HODULIK: We had expected Disney to add 300,000 to Hulu Live customers here in the March quarter. They added 100,000. Now, again, there's no live sports, and they did do a price increase, so that number was still less than we thought.

BLAIR: Hodulik says the next quarter could be worse. Former CEO and board chairman Bob Iger delayed his retirement to help the company get through the crisis. He sounded beleaguered but still optimistic that people's emotional connection to Disney is strong.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BOB IGER: People want good news. They want to experience joy and the feeling of togetherness. And for all these reasons, we will continue to tell stories that uplift and enrich people's lives.

BLAIR: A bright spot during the earnings call was the announcement that Shanghai Disneyland will reopen on May 11. Attendance will be limited, and everyone will be required to wear masks.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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