Former Disney CEO Bob Iger says the future of movies and traditional TV is looking rather grim.
Speaking at the Code Conference in Los Angeles (via Variety), Iger sats he doesn’t think movies ever return in terms of “going to the level they were at pre-pandemic”.
In addition, the success of big streaming series launches like “House of the Dragon,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “The Mandalorian” has led him to rethink some of the conventional wisdom he believed in:
“The movie industry used to argue that you couldn’t create cultural impact without people going to the movie theater around the globe that same weekend. I don’t agree anymore. I probably made that argument at some point.”
One thing he does see plenty of upside in is advertising in the streaming world, saying what Netflix and Disney are about to do with ad-supported tiers are “smart moves” as it gives consumers a choice.
He admits not all the streamers out there are going to survive: “I don’t think all streamers are created equal. I don’t think they’ll all make it. There will be haves and have nots.”
He’s bullish on his former company as they’ve leaned hard into streaming and the rapidly declining traditional media businesses were being offset by its successful theme parks. Rivals though? Not so lucky:
“Linear TV and satellite is marching towards a great precipice, and it will be pushed off. If you’re just in the channels business, you have a world of hurt. I can’t tell you when, but it goes away.”
One thing he admits he was wrong on and has been forced to rethink has been the prospects for Apple TV+ and its relatively fast rise in recent times:
“I was on the board of Apple when they decided to go into the streaming business of television and movies. I thought it would take a long time. They’ve done better than I expected them to do because it wasn’t a business they were in at all.”
Iger said he spends most of his time in retirement advising a series of startup companies in which he is invested, along with working on a sequel to his first book.