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Disney CEO Bob Chapek touts 'unrivaled' storytelling

May 18, 2022
Illustration of a man standing in a giant shoe print.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As many major TV networks tout their strengths to advertisers this week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek went as far as to say his brand is "unrivaled" during the company's Upfront presentation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Disney, and Chapek in particular, have been under pressure this year amid a battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and as it seeks to grow its new streaming service.

Details: "When it comes to storytelling, innovation and authority to deep emotional connections to audiences across all demographics, The Walt Disney Company is unrivaled," Chapek said. "In fact, when you look at the entertainment landscape, I believe that Disney stands alone."

  • The celebrity-studded presentation showcased its deep portfolio with attention given to the Disney parks, Disney+, Hulu, FX and ABC. Celebs included Steve Martin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kerry Washington, Khloe Kardashian, Samuel L. Jackson and many more.
  • Disney General Entertainment Content chairman Peter Rice touted the relationships they have with "storytellers," noting many of them work with Disney on multiple projects.

The intrigue: A big portion of the two-hour event was dedicated to sports. The Rock — a repeat Disney actor — was there to announce all XFL games will be broadcast across ABC, ESPN and FX starting in 2023.

  • Eli and Peyton Manning announced that the "Peyton's Places" franchise is growing with new shows hosted by Sue Bird, P. K. Subban and John McEnroe.

What's next: All eyes are on the upcoming launch of advertising in Disney+, which Chapek mentioned in his opening remarks.

  • In a story published early Tuesday, Disney told the Wall Street Journal that Disney+ will carry about four minutes of commercials an hour.
  • While the presentation didn't harp too much on the new ad buys, Disney debuted three new trailers for upcoming Disney+ content: "Disenchanted," "Hocus Pocus 2" and "She-Hulk."
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