Streaming Services Help Disney Cope With Park Closures

August 4, 2020 Updated: August 4, 2020

BURBANK, Calif. (CNS)—The Walt Disney Co. reported sharp year-over-year third-quarter revenue drops Aug. 4, thanks in part to the COVID-19-prompted closure of its theme parks—but the success of its streaming services, most notably Disney+, gave the Burbank company a needed boost.

Disney reported third-quarter revenue of $11.8 billion, a 42 percent drop from last year’s third quarter, but still ahead of industry expectations.

Revenue losses were fueled largely by the closure of Disney parks worldwide, with the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment seeing an 85 percent revenue drop from the third quarter of last year. The only Disney segment not to report a drop in revenue was the Direct-to-Consumer & International segment, which showed a 2 percent gain.

In terms of operating income, the company’s Media Networks showed a 48 percent jump.

“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our direct-to-consumer businesses,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions—a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company.”

The company’s streaming services are Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, with Disney+ representing more than half of the empire’s 100 million subscribers, according to the company.

Disney reported diluted earnings per share of 8 cents, down from $1.34 in the same quarter last year.

The company had originally planned to reopen its Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim on July 17, but those plans were scrapped as the state saw a surge of COVID-19 cases. That surge prompted a delay in the state’s release of operating protocols for large venues such as theme parks.

The Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment district reopened to the public on July 9, although some individual businesses remained closed.

Knott’s Berry Farm Cancels Halloween Haunt for 2020

Knott’s Berry Farm has canceled its hugely popular Halloween Haunt event in Buena Park this year due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, park officials said Aug. 4.

“Regrettably, due to continued operating restrictions related to the pandemic, we have had to make the very difficult decision to cancel our highly anticipated 2020 Knott’s Scary Farm event,” Knott’s officials said.

“We know that this news is disappointing, but we look forward with great enthusiasm to making 2021 Knott’s Scary Farm our best year ever.”

The move, which had been widely expected, follows similar announcements regarding other large-scale Halloween events in Southern California.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, and Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure have all canceled their separate-admission seasonal events in recent weeks.

Hoping to cash in on the demand for Halloween-themed events this fall, Six Flags officials said that they are developing a modified version of their theme parks’ Fright Fest event.

“We are planning to have something out there that excites families and our guests to get out there and come to the parks,” Six Flags CEO Michael Spanos said on a July 29 earnings call with analysts.

It’s still unclear whether Southern California fans will get to enjoy Fright Fest this year, however, as Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia remains closed.