Disney’s recent hiring trend shows shift to retail and media DTC

The Walt Disney Company’s recent hiring trend shows a shift to Dinsey+, its video-on-demand streaming services and retail Disney Stores to offset the impact of COVID-19 on its theme park business. Hiring remains strong in the media networks and direct-to-consumer (DTC) and international segments as the company recalibrates its focus, finds GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s Job Analytics database, new jobs posted for Disney’s retail and streaming services since April 2020 accounted for almost 55% of the total postings. The company’s hiring saw a steep decline in Q2 with the onset of the pandemic and only displayed signs of recovery from July 2020. However, Walt Disney’s parks and themes segment continues to suffer from the COVID-19 impact, with the company reporting over 85% decline in revenues in Q3 2020, as compared to the same quarter last year.

Danyaal Rashid, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Disney’s position, in terms of its focus on streaming, has not changed much since GlobalData noted back in May that the company is being held back by its physical assets as a consequence of COVID-19. The company’s parks and resorts traditionally make up a large portion of Disney’s profits, but the company is now trying to buck this trends as streaming is much more reliable and they are in full control because it is DTC.

“Disney’s dreams for Disney+ are for it to transcend from a streaming service to be a distribution tool for hot blockbuster releases at a premium to boost profitability – demonstrated by the fact that they charged $30 for ‘Mulan’ on the service when it was pulled from cinemas.”

Ajay Thalluri, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Disney continues to see success for its Disney+ platform and reported over 100 million subscribers for its streaming services, according to its Q3 2020 earnings call. This means that the company has surpassed its target of 60-90 million subscribers by 2024. Disney is emerging as a major challenger to the market leader Netflix, which has over 190 million subscribers.”

On its retail front, Disney is keeping its permanent hiring in check while increasing job postings for temporary, fixed-term contract, seasonal and part-time jobs.

Rashid continues: “There is going to be a direct relationship between Disney+ and Disney retail – in fact Disney are likely to use the Disney+ as a platform to push its merchandising and drive traffic to its retail arm. Disney’s advantage, in this sense, is that it is prominent in the children’s space, a key merchandising target market.”

Disney continues to hire across geographies while seeking to expand its streaming services in Asia-Pacific (APAC) and South East Asia. The company entered the Indian media market with its acquisition of Hotstar to provide its DTC services. Disney+hotstar acquired exclusive digital media rights to IPL 2020, the cricket league in India, from Star network, adding 13 million app installs in the first 30 days.

Furthermore, the company recently posted a host of senior-level jobs including Executive Director – Partnerships & Business Development (Singapore), Disney+, Director – Growth & Acquisition (SEA), and Director – Sourcing & Procurement (India). The company is also looking to grow in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with senior-level jobs posted for Vice President, Subscriber Growth – Disney+ EMEA and Vice President, Marketing – Disney+ EMEA.

Thalluri continues: “Hiring through these changing times, the company posted jobs around health and safety protocols to ensure compliance with emerging COVID-19 guidelines. A large number of the postings are related to mid-level safety and health supervisors and production managers.

“While the company is expected to lay off over 28,000 of its workforce in 2020 and has furloughed 100,000 with the lockdown of its parks, Disney’s focus for the remainder of 2020 will be on DTC and its retail businesses.”

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