Disney to Take $1.5 Billion Content Write-Off Charge After Removing Titles from Streaming Platforms

And they could face hundreds of millions in additional charges

Earth to Ned
Earth to Ned (2020)

After Disney unceremoniously removed dozens of titles from Disney+ and Hulu at the end of May, the company on Friday recorded via an SEC filing a “$1.5 billion impairment charge in its fiscal third quarter financial statements to adjust the carrying value of these content assets to fair value.”

And that might not be the end of it – according to the same filing the company could incur charges up to $400 million “related to produced content.”

To explain: On May 26, Disney removed dozens of titles from direct-to-consumer streaming platforms Disney+ (including movies like “Stargirl” and “Wolfgang” and original series like “Willow” and “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers”) and Hulu (shows like “The Hot Zone” and “Y: The Last Man,” movies like “Darby and the Dead” and “The Princess”). It was a baffling move given how closely connected many of the series and movies were to already-established Disney IP, making them an odd fit to shop to other streamers or linear platforms. And it was a move that blindsided a lot of creators and performers who had worked hard on these series and movies, particularly during a fraught, weeks-long writers’ strike.

In the filing the company describes the move as “a strategic change in approach to content curation and as a result is removing certain content from its platforms.” The additional charge, of course, would be related to removing more content. “The Company is continuing its review and currently anticipates additional produced content will be removed from its DTC and other platforms,” according to the official filing.

In other words: Your favorite show or movie on Disney+ or Hulu, well, maybe watch it one more time – it could get zapped just like “Earth to Ned” or “Rosaline” or “The World According to Jeff Goldblum.” They are gone but not forgotten.