Bob Iger Found Disney in ‘Worse Shape’ Than He Expected, Now ‘Overwhelmed and Exhausted’ Bloomberg Reports

Mounting troubles across Disney’s businesses have proven a bigger challenge that the CEO expected when he returned

Bob Iger in front of a Disney+ logo
Bob Iger (Getty Images)

Bob Iger’s heralded return to the Disney C-suite last year hasn’t produced the rosy results investors hoped for, and the array of setbacks he’s faced has left the 72-year-old executive “overwhelmed and exhausted,” even privately questioning why he returned, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Disney’s stock is now down more than 9% since Iger took back the CEO title from Bob Chapek in November and activist investor Nelson Peltz is once again rattling the cage and pushing for a seat on the company’s board.

But the challenges at the House of Mouse go beyond the potential for a renewed proxy fight with a cantankerous investor.

The company was in “worse shape than Iger realized” when he came back, Bloomberg reported.

On the streaming side, Disney+ was losing hundreds of millions of dollars every quarter, and the 2024 deadline for turning a profit — a promise the company made to Wall Street — was looming, even as costs for producing shows was soaring. A deal Iger shepherded through in 2016 to acquire streaming technology company BAMTech turned out to be more expensive than expected and the tech was not as efficient as rivals’, Bloomberg reported. Another deadline Iger negotiated with Comcast for Disney to acquire the 33% of Hulu that it doesn’t own for no less than $27.5 billion is fast approaching, but it’s not clear what value taking the stake will deliver.

In addition, Iger fumbled badly with a comment that the demands made by WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikers this summer were “just not realistic,” sparking massive backlash as actors and writers on the picket line pointed to his $27 million annual salary.

The sum total of the challenges has left the executive joking, “Why did I come back?” the report said, noting the once tireless CEO spent a significant amount of time on his yacht in the Mediterranean this summer, then was laid up at home following surgery.

The musing comes despite the report saying that Iger “immediately regretted” his 2020 departure from the CEO’s chair and its accompanying spotlight, and tried to get his job back, an account the company disputed.

Iger’s return was heralded by Wall Street and staff worldwide, and he had early success with fending off Peltz, who mounted a proxy battle over Disney spending, by announcing $3 billion in spending cuts, including axing 7,000 jobs.

Those cuts came with a restructuring plan that created new divisions in the company. But it’s still losing hundreds of millions on streaming and it suffered a string of box-office flops this summer despite a resurgence in theater-going led by rival studios’ productions of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”

Moreover, “Iger seemed blindsided by the state of the TV industry,” Bloomberg reported. With its networks rapidly losing viewers as they switch to streaming, the report said Iger now has few choices but to sell off Disney’s TV business, which includes ABC, The Disney Channel, FX and National Geographic networks, while ESPN is “in desperate need of a transformation from a shrinking cable operation into a streaming service.”

Rumors swirled that Iger was considering selling Disney to Apple, where he sat on the board for almost a decade, but by summer’s end that chatter had died down.

Instead, Iger is trying “incremental fixes,” the report said, tinkering with the movie release calendar, raising Disney+ subscription prices , publicly toying with selling ABC and inking a sports-betting deal tied to ESPN.

He also shifted positions on the Hollywood strikes, stating that Disney’s relationship with is creative talent is a top priority.

But after many of his allies left Disney when he did, Iger is also “increasingly isolated,” the report said, questioning whether the executive has “lost the magic” he brought to the company during his previously stint at the helm.


33 responses to “Bob Iger Found Disney in ‘Worse Shape’ Than He Expected, Now ‘Overwhelmed and Exhausted’ Bloomberg Reports”

  1. Commentor Avatar

    Comments are back?!!

    1. Main Street Pete Avatar
      Main Street Pete

      I worked On Main Street for 7 years. It was about when the whole woke philosophy began creep-ing in.
      As I watched, the Pixie Dust was gradually replaced by Gold Dust! I had to shave my mustache to work on Main Street. Now, anything goes! We had annual passes for 22 years. Spent 3 months each year in
      Fort Wilderness.
      We were loyal guests.
      I have not been there five years. I will say, We just returned from a cruise on the

      Disney Wish. IT was really great!

  2. John Lee Avatar
    John Lee

    what an utter and complete clown that boob igor is. he will go down as disney’s biggest villain.

    1. JR Avatar

      You can’t even spell his last name properly 

      1. Phred Avatar

        I think John Lee’s comment is a joke, stating that Iger is not a do-everything wizard, but a troll.

  3. cadavra Avatar

    One possible reason their streaming is down is that so much content is available on both Hulu AND Disney+ that people are starting to realize it’s not worth it to subscribe to both, especially households without small children.

  4. Zachery Avatar

    The smart play with Disney+ would have been to simply have it serve as an archive and be priced around $5/mo,

    For parents with children, access to the library of children’s movies (That they could actually rent for free at an actual library) would be a good value proposition.

    There was no need to throw money into original programming for it. They were already dong fine with their deals where Netflix subsidized them for making Marvel shows.

    They owned enough of Hulu for that to be a place to put their Marvel and other properties while also licensing certain ones out to sites like Netflix and Prime.

    1. Alyson Barbree Avatar
      Alyson Barbree

      This!!!  Completely agree. I have been wondering why they are pouring so much money into so many new shows. I would just be happy with be able to access movies that “are in the vault.”

  5. Smith Nellon Avatar
    Smith Nellon

    Anybody else see that elephant?

  6. Dale Avatar

    This article ignores the elephant in the room. Disney was created for entertaining families and children but Disney lost a lot of subscribers and loyalty by going ‘woke’. Disney started to produce content that families did not want to expose their children to and Disney ended up alienating probably half or more of their audience. Ignoring this fact is only going to hurt Disney. The solution is to simply own up to the mistakes, apologize to those they have alienated and commit to creating content that Disney audiences actually want. Remove all political agendas and wokeness and you might actually return to profitability.

    1. jon whaley Avatar
      jon whaley

      idiotic comment. youre a stupid puppet parroting words you can’t define. 

      1. George Avatar

        Actually spot on by Dale. This is not about race or color. It’s about agenda driven politics and content not appropriate for any child. Children should not be indoctrinated. Disney went stupid and lost lifelong fans such as myself. Prime example is the twit who stars as Snow White. Talk about reducing a movies potential at the box office.

    2. Me Avatar

      How is making sure black kids see black people on their tv and movie screen a “political agenda”? 

      You people and this whole “once they went woke” line. You’re basically showing that you’re racist and sexist and tv and movies should only show white straight men.

      Stop with that.

      1. Realist Avatar

        You sound like a bigot, making sure black this and black that and using words like “you people” lol your part of the problem but this ain’t just about their political agenda, Disney just not making smart plays altogether from a public perspective.

        1. Eddie Avatar

          I gotta agree with Dale & Realist!

    3. Lscbydesign Avatar

      Won’t be popular but I agree with you. It’s not a case of black v white. Of course little girls of all colors should have princesses that look like them. Those that are accusing you of just racism are ignoring the pc content that WDW has bought into and is selling wholesale to children. That’s what parents are rejecting. 

    4. jane doe Avatar
      jane doe

      you nailed it!

    5. David Avatar

      100% right. When Iger asked for feedback, I sent “Drop the foolish woke agenda, get out of politics, focus on family entertainment.”

    6. Jim Evans Avatar
      Jim Evans

      I think you nailed it.

  7. Me Avatar

    I agree with Dale… 

    Been a Disney family for 30 years, now I’ll go elsewhere for my family entertainment, of course everyone who stands against wokeism and doesn’t bow to the foolish politics of the left is a “racists”.  The truth of the matter is that Disney changed, not families, they were Disney main financial consumers of Disney content, now they want nothing to do with it, so now Disney is feeling the pain of poor choices. 
    Return to family values !!!

    1. Diana Skonieczny Avatar
      Diana Skonieczny

      Yes absolutely 

  8. Brian Avatar

    Broke rhymes with WOKE.
    Wake up and smell the roses my guy… People with kids don’t want that crap!

  9. Phred Avatar

    I think John Lee’s comment is a joke, stating that Iger is not a do-everything wizard, but a troll.

  10. Phred Avatar

    Disney is suffering the same fate as Bud Light. They strategically went woke, abandoning their core market, in hopes of capturing a new market based on indoctrinating kids into sexual patterns and gender dysmorphia. African parents, Asian parents, European parents, and Latin American parents all realized that Disney was no longer a magical, family place. It is now a magical place for people who identify themselves based on their gender dysmorphia symptoms or sexuality. That’s not a much much smaller market. So we will all get to see the destruction and death of Disney at the hands of Iger and his woke marketing team.

  11. Byte me Avatar
    Byte me

    When bud light,Disney & all the other woke corps go into bankrupties,just watch how quickly woke ignores the failing corps plea of help me ,please buy our product.
    Woke will accept its winning agenda of gullible CEOs ,then pick on some other ignorant company to force their woke agendas.By the way woke lovers,facts dont lie,go woke, go broke.Wake up America!Ignore all the polly wants a cracker ,woke moronic cult communist hitler loving, liars ,who think scaring ppl to believe the Earth is going to drown in climate change floods in the next few years.These are the very same ppl who got rich by selling things like inconvenient truth to gullible souls.Their math or numbers just dont work.All the new fads like stop using oil,ACs,gas cars,gas stoves,will soon be the demise of your own gullibility.
    Remember the Earth could  just as easily be hit by an astronoid in two days by their own scientist,then what’s all the inconvenient suffering been for?Live your life like the very same woke ppl have been living behind their closed doors,caviar,bitcoins, new england lobsters shipped in daily,rolex watches,200 ft yachts & personal leer jets.What hippocrits!Its ppl
    like the Biden criminal family that are enjoying their get rich quick lives off of gullible voters

  12. Donna Avatar

    There’s no such thing as “woke” people are people are people, no one is “woke” there is no agenda. Inclusiveness is the term… all races, religions, types of people. That’s not woke, it’s human. 

    1. Random Avatar

      Its woke & Bob Iger destroyed Disney. Destroying Disney is Bob Igers Legacy. Bob Iger came back so that he can accept responsibility for once in his woke life. Stop defending The Child Groomers at Disney. Unless you are one yourself that is

    2. GetWokeGoBroke Avatar

      There is only woke & Bob Iger destroyed Disney. Destroying Disney is Bob Igers Legacy. Bob Iger came back so that he can accept responsibility for once in his woke life

    3. Random Avatar

      Its w-o-k-e & nothing else & w-o-k-e-n-e-s-s destroyed Disney & Entertainment in general

    4. Random Avatar

      There is only wokeness & it has destroyed Disney & Entertainment in General

    5. Ran-Dom Avatar

      There is only wokeness & it is a cancer. It was never about “humans” or inclusiveness. It was about ESG & DEI. They sold you a lie so that they can freely discriminate & be racist against the right type of people this time. Hollywood could disappear tomorrow. We wouldnt miss it

  13. Random Avatar

    Bob Iger destroyed Disney. Destroying Disney is Bob Igers Legacy. Bob Iger came back so that he can accept responsibility for once in his woke life

  14. Satanist Avatar

    666 – the number of the Beast!

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