Disney chief Bob Iger made world headlines right on the eve of the actor’s strike in July. In an interview with CNBC at the Sun Valley Conference, he said the expectations of striking writers and actors are “just not realistic”.
That drew a huge backlash and made Iger the target of strong speech. Seen as out-of-touch, the remark became a rallying cry as the actor’s strike began. It was especially galling to working class actors (the easy majority of actors out there) struggling to make ends meet.
SAG-AFTRA’s proposed deal to the AMPTP was estimated to cost each studio around $23 million annually. That is less than the $27 million Iger is set to earn this year in total compensation, the $39 million that Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zasla earned in 2022, or the reported $32.6 million average that major media conglomerate CEOs earn annually in salary, stocks and other perks according to Variety.
In today’s Disney earnings call, Iger was more diplomatic, saying he is ‘personally committed’ to working to achieve an end to the writer’s and actor’s strikes – the former of which hit the 100-day mark today:
“Nothing is more important to this company than its relationships with the creative community. That includes actors, writers, animators, directors and producers.
I have deep respect and appreciation for all those who are vital to the extraordinary creative engine that drives this company and our industry.
And it is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months. And I am personally committed to working to achieve this result.”
The comments come as Disney unveiled its second-quarter results with a $512 million streaming loss for its direct-to-consumer unit (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+) and a $2.4 billion impairment charge tied to the removal of dozens of film and TV shows from its services.
The core Disney+ offering (which doesn’t include Disney+ Hotstar) currently sits at 105 million subscribers. In addition, the strikes have led to a lower-than-expected $27 billion spend on fiscal 2023 content.
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