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Disney Is More Concerned With Saving Its Image Than Fixing its Issues

disney image issues
Images Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr; Disney

In the latest example of a behavioral trend from the company, Disney insists that one of its latest shows is super popular… but the numbers disagree.

The Walt Disney Company seems to be at it again. For months now, there have been many varieties of headlines going around about the state of the company. Some believe the company is still struggling to bring its way back after the mess of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative impacts of the poor strategic decisions former Disney CEO Bob Chapek made.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, current Disney CEO Bob Iger

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, current Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: ABC

However, ever since Disney CEO Bob Iger came back to take the helm, many fans in the Disney community have felt a renewed hope that the formerly beloved chief executive of the Walt Disney Company would set things right. However, over the last ten months, it has become apparent that Disney is primarily focused on protecting its image and running a pricey PR campaign, while many issues that fans hoped would be straightened out remain.

Whether it’s the issues at the Disney theme parks—both with the prices and the lack of quality for the steep prices—or it has to do with cinema, where fans have commented for years now that Disney’s quality has dropped massively.

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Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano / Credit: Lucasfilm

But, while the numbers show in no uncertain terms that things at Disney aren’t all rainbows and sunshine, Disney CEO Bob Iger himself, as well as the company at large, have nothing but positive things to say about where Disney stands today; irrespective of the reality.

One recent example of this is Lucasfilm’s Ahsoka in the Star Wars world. As reported by the AV Club, when Ahsoka premiered on August 22, Disney+ “proudly announced that the show is its number one title worldwide and that it was the most-watched title on Disney+ in the past week.” The first episode clocked 14 million views.

How Does Disney Define a “View”?

Disney says that the first episode of Ahsoka got 14 million views, with a “view” being defined as “total stream time divided by runtime available” (according to a press release)—which means if you watch the whole thing that’s one view, but if you watch half and another person watches half, that also counts as one view.

By contrast, the outlet Deadline reported that Samba TV researchers determined that Ahsoka’s first episode was viewed in “1.2 million households.” That’s quite a bit less than Disney’s conveniently calculated 14 million.

ahsoka star wars disneyland

Disneyland Resort announced that Ahsoka would be coming to the Southern California Disney Park starting August 23, 2023 / Credit: Disney

Similarly, for months now, guests have been reporting that Walt Disney World in Central Florida is a ghost town. Many particularly called out the July 4th weekend, with many mainstream media outlets also highlighting this reality. Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed those articles and effectively called them unfair, and shared that the theme parks are a good product and are still going strong.

Of course, come the next earnings call, Mr. Iger admitted that numbers were, in fact, down.

"Partners" statue in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort

“Partners” statue in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

Disney and its senior executives seem to have become far more focused on saving face—with shareholders? With fans? Who knows—than with necessarily addressing the root cause of these issues internally. But in the meanwhile, it calls into question the credibility of the numbers the Mouse House is reporting to back up its purported success.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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