Disney will save over a billion dollars from all of the shows and movies removed from streaming.
Disney’s recent removal of several series and films from Disney+ will result in lower taxes for the corporation as it lowers the listed value of its offerings. According to Variety, removing multiple original titles from the streaming service in recent months has resulted in a $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion tax write-off. CFO Christine McCarthy shared the information on an earnings call in May, stating that the company may also incur some $400 million in impairment charges related to produced content.
The news comes as Disney has been tightening its belt, not only slashing its streaming offerings but laying off employees. It is, of course, also facing ongoing struggles with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been punishing Disney for publicly disagreeing with his policies. With its most recent Marvel offerings (with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy 3) often receiving complaints of feeling bloated and low on story, it’s also dealing with a market saturation that is hurting one of its most valuable properties.
Disney has also had some struggles with Star Wars lately. Andor received wide praise, but its second season may be in trouble, while The Mandalorian has faced some backlash in its third season, and The Rise of Skywalker has been roundly criticized by fans. That hasn’t kept the studio from promoting its still-bankable sci-fi franchise on this week’s Star Wars-themed episodes of Wheel of Fortune.
But the Disney creak has started to be heard more frequently as the hinges of the company seem to be getting rusty. And there is a writers’ strike going on as well, of course. Still, based on the tax write-offs earned by yanking streaming titles, the company’s execs are expressing hope for greater future stability.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, expressed his confidence on the earnings call that the company is on the “right path for streaming’s long-term profitability,” touting a “rationalizing” of expenditures and the volume of content production. All this sounds like good news for the media giant, which has been teetering recently. Making adjustments to correct its course and right its ship seems wise, even if it hurts for fans—and laid-off employees—in the short term.
With an apparent streamlining of content production on the way, Disney might be choosing quality over quantity, which will be good for its franchises and properties all around. And hopefully, we will see some of the removed content return to Disney+ in the not-too-distant future, perhaps including the well-loved and much-missed Willow series. Maybe its absence will even make fans grow fonder and lead to a push for a second season.
While it is yet to be seen what Disney’s intentions with removed content are, we’re getting some serious “Disney Vault” flashbacks, when the company would stop selling certain titles on home video for a while to stoke future demand. The company will also be merging Disney+ with Hulu in the near future, with Comcast anticipating selling its 30% share in the streamer to the House of Mouse before long. That will also help Disney’s cash flow, hopefully leading to a bit more breathing room for future endeavors.
In the meantime, we’ll be looking for a Willow Blu-ray to add to our vault at home.