Disney theme park attendance down 5%, company beat up on weak DVD sales

Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2009 10:55 PM | Contributed by Jeff

For the quarter ended Dec. 27, Disney reported net income of $845 million, or 45 cents a share, a 32 percent decline from $1.25 billion, or 63 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 8 percent, to $9.6 billion. The company blames a 64% drop in studio income driven by weak DVD sales. Disney said spending at Disney World and Disneyland in the last part of 2008 was flat and spending at the company’s resort hotels was up modestly. Theme park attendance dropped just 5 percent, and they're extending the booking window for its promotional campaign for several months.

Read more from The New York Times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 8:20 AM

The problem with Blu-Ray is that it doesn't offer any of the compelling incentives that DVD did - no degradation, no rewinding, instant chapter access and extra features. The improved picture quality was a selling point, but not enough to warrant replacing one's VHS catalog. Blu-Ray doesn't offer anything that people have been asking for, and by the time people even know enough about it to know (or think) they want it, DLC will be ubiquitous.

You can point to player/PS3 sales as a metric for success all day long, but consider this - until recently, Pioneer was still pumping out LD players.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 9:02 AM

With the advent of streaming media or on demand movie/tv, I see Blu-ray facing a "provide me a good reason to pay $24+ or get out" dilemma.

The streaming market is making it so much easier to get what you want for less cost, not fill up your shelves with stuff (I still have a box set for Star Trek on VHS.. It takes an addition to my house to store), and never have to leave the comfort of your chair to watch attitude.

This article hits what im saying spot on:

Blu-ray uncertain future

With larger pipes to the interwebs, bigger hard drives to store it and better compression vs quality rates. Streaming will be the new DVD very soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 12:17 PM

I think the dvd sales drop is multifold.

For one, Blu-Ray and HD in general require a total upgrade to get the best out of it. Unlike dvds where the advantage over VHS was considerable with the purchase of just a player, Blu-Ray offers more by upgrading the tv and sound system as well as the new player.

Combine this with the asinine choice of Disney in particular to force you to watch all previews and ads before you can get to the actual main movie, and you turn off a lot of people.

As noted above, besides the Pixar films, the classics are all coming out very slowly and the dvds coming out in between are pretty crappy. Tinkerbell had an okay story, but the animation looked worse than the Barbie series. This doesn't help push sales when the movies they push out all look cheaply done while the classics and Pixar films people know about look great.

The quality of non-Disney animated features can't be helping either. While many people still don't think of anything but Disney for animated features, the success of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda shows that the newer generation who fill the seats for these films are not bound by the name anymore, and that the lower quality of Disney branded animated films of late is having an impact.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 12:31 PM

Combine this with the asinine choice of Disney in particular to force you to watch all previews and ads before you can get to the actual main movie

Am I the only person whose kids like watching the ads? I've also found that it's possible to skip them....because my kids complain...

Thursday, February 5, 2009 1:42 PM

Nope, you're not. For my seven-year-old, watching the ads are simply part of the movie experience. I keep asking her, "Do you want me to fast forward to the main menu?" She always answers, "Dad, I want to see the whole movie."

Thursday, February 5, 2009 1:47 PM

I don't watch Lost. They should call it Found now. I skipped it and moved on to J.J.'s Fringe. That's some good television.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 3:10 PM

Ahh yes.. Fringe.. Just recently discovered that and have maintained interest (which says a lot for me as my attention span tends to be short for TV).

Will see though.. Im notorious for starting a series and never knowing how it concludes..

As far as DVD/BR Ads you cant pass.. Im not sure I would completely blame Disney for it.. I have countless movies that I have been stuck with the taunting huge red circle with a line through it on my screen when i try to hit the menu/stop/get-me-outta-here button.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 8:15 PM

Most new DVD players upconvert, so why is Blu-Ray so fantastic?


Come on, Jeff. LOST is the BEST show on tv, ever. Every episode is almost big screen movie quality. Between episodes, I can't stop thinking about what the heck is going on. I love talking about it with friends and family. I am so glad I got into the show when it first started, because it has captivated me unlike any other series or film.

I could understand someone not enjoying the show if they didn't start at the beginning. You can watch every episode online.

I will say that this season so far has me a little disappointed. I hope it gets going soon.

I've never been this excited about any entertainment, except for amusement parks. To each his own...

Thursday, February 5, 2009 9:59 PM

Honestly, I never could get in to it. My wife watches it, but I just lost interest in it when it became apparent that they have no intention of ever telling you what the hell's going on.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 10:49 PM

^ Well you gave up to soon as this season is explaining a lot of that..

They are contracted till 2010 (the Series), so this year and definitely next year are the answer years.. But I agree.. It was a struggle for a while as it seemed to be 10 questions and 1 answer per episode.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 11:08 PM

LostKause said:
Most new DVD players upconvert, so why is Blu-Ray so fantastic?

Upconverting to a higher resolution will never be as good as a higher native resolution...


Thursday, February 5, 2009 11:17 PM

^But its good enough for me, at least now. I see no reason to waste $10-15 more on Blu Rays (not to mention get a new player) at the moment. I suspect that Im in the majority on that as well.

Friday, February 6, 2009 8:44 AM

^^Welcome back Gonch.. Since this is technically a Disney thread. How was Disney attendance and such? Over 200K on Toy Story?

Friday, February 6, 2009 12:43 PM

Yeah, upconverting doesn't create data out of thin air. You're still starting with 480 lines, and the other 600 don't come from nowhere. But the fact that it's "good enough" for most people exactly illustrates my point about why Blu-Ray isn't that compelling for most people.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 12:08 AM

That was my point. Blu-Ray isn't worth the money to me, because I get some kind of HD already.

The writers of LOST already said that questions will be answered by the end of the last season. When they made the deal with ABC as to when the show was going to end, they could finally make a plan for the story.

And to tie this into Disney, ABC is owned by the rat.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:19 PM

ridemcoaster said:
^^Welcome back Gonch.. Since this is technically a Disney thread. How was Disney attendance and such? Over 200K on Toy Story?

Just got home a few hours ago. Not sure if/when a TR is coming... probably some details on the podcast. Only did TSM three times (100 minute waits - this is slow season?) and topped out at 179K on my first run...the other two were lower.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 11:30 AM

I wouldnt use Toy Story as the litmus for park attendance. Ive been there when it was truly "low season", and while all the other rides maxed at 10-15 mins (good by Disney standards of time), TSM was still at 100 mins.

Doesnt help when when the park opens the marathon to the back of the park begins.

Im about 1 hr from getting on the Disney Cruise, but will be in the parks later this week. Trying to gague what the parks will be so I was curious, however American Idol opens this weekend too so that changes the dynamics slightly at HS..It will be interesting..

Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:57 PM

True. TSM was 100 minutes on Friday and RNRC and ToT were both 60-75 minutes. On Monday (rainy as hell) TSM was still up around 75 minutes and RNRC was 30 minutes while ToT was a walk-on.

American Idol seemed to have little interest the two days we visited...not a lot of people lining up to see shows and the one we saw (2pm Friday) had a theatre that was just a little over half full - maybe 60%.

I'm not a Disney dork and I don't know much about the parks and haven't visited in over 7 years, but I'll stand by my assessment - if this is slow season, then I can't even imagine visiting during 'regular' season, let alone peak season.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 3:04 PM

I will agree, regular or high season does suck.. Been in all of those ends of the spectrum. We have now learned generally the days where you can truly dodge the crowds, but honestly we will never see the ghost town days of Disney just after 9-11, even in a "bad economy".

Low is relative and subject to individuals tolerance levels really. But within the last year we have managed to slip in with minimal waits (less than 15 mins, TSM excluded). But you have to learn the system, which we enjoy doing, or live local.

-Disney Dork.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 3:10 PM

Granted, I learned enough of the system to stay 'ahead of the game' so to speak. Waits reached the times I mentioned, but I didn't say we waited that long. :)

We had a lot of fun, but in the end the fun-to-cost/effort ratio was less than I expected and I think I still feel like I get more from the regionals/locals in that aspect.


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