Disney aims to be UK collaborator with £3.5bn spend

Disney aims to be UK collaborator with £3.5bn spend
Renegade Nell, via Disney+

Disney will continue to be a collaborator to ‘help sustain’ the UK industry, having revealed it has spent £3.5bn on local production in the last five years.

In a keynote speech at the Deloitte and Enders Media & Telecoms 2024 and Beyond Conference this morning, EMEA president Jan Koeppen noted the US giant is “ambitious to keep growing” but that it would be in conjunction with its industry peers.

“There is no denying the fact that Disney is a large, global business. We’ve been around a long time and we intend to be around a lot longer…but we also recognise that we’re part of a wider ecosystem in the UK, and in each market where we operate. This ecosystem helps to sustain us, and we want to help sustain it too,” he said.

“We believe it is by working with others that we can best achieve our goals. This includes many of the content producers, broadcasters and distribution platforms that are present today.”

Since just before Disney+’s launch in 2020, the Bob Iger-led company has made over 40 shows for TV and its flagship streamer in the UK alongside 90 Nat Geo titles. This has supported 32,000 jobs.

Koeppen (pictured left) added that Disney would continue to support its linear operations, which he insisted are “an important part of this mix”. He said it would continue to license programming to other broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and UKTV.

“Not only does this generate revenue, it also helps to build awareness of key titles. We believe strongly that the breadth of our business is a key source of advantage. It brings strength, resilience and opportunity,” he said.

“The evidence tells us that people are still watching plenty of broadcast television across genres including entertainment, factual, and drama,” he said. “Our business model is about creating content with mass appeal, and then getting it to people in whichever way they want.

“After Disney Plus, we work with other pay channels and free-to-air networks to reach an even broader audience.”

His comments a few weeks after Disney chief exec Bob Iger told an investor conference the company would “reduce pretty dramatically”, its investment in content “specifically aimed at those traditional networks”.

“Invest in some, but then manage the traditional platforms networks and the streaming platform seamlessly,” Iger told the MoffettNathanson Media, Internet & Communications Conference on 15 May. Previously, Iger said Disney would not chase licensing revenues with its tentpoles.

This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.

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