The Walt Disney Co. plans to increase its overall spending on content to $33 billion for its fiscal year of 2022, which began on Oct. 1. Details on the company’s previous year and forecast for the coming year were revealed in its annual report, which was filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
The $33 billion figure marks an uptick of approximately $8 billion to the company’s fiscal 2021 spending, which reportedly tallied up to $25 billion. The boost is driven by Disney’s intention to expand its reach on streaming, through platforms like Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus, rather than through the company’s linear businesses on television and film. The $33 billion total includes content sports rights and other content for ESPN, ESPN Plus and other platforms.
The massive spending strategy underlines how Disney is approaching direct-to-consumer content as a high priority, expanding its investment in streaming with a sense of urgency.
The annual report spells out that Disney plans to release approximately 50 titles for theatrical and streaming distribution during the fiscal year. This includes both films and episodic television series. The company also stipulates that its packed release timeline may be impacted by productions being halted due to the spread of COVID-19. Disney produces motions pictures through Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Searchlight Pictures.
As Disney shifts to a strong focus on direct-to-consumer business models, the company is stepping up content production and commissioning across the board to feed Disney Plus, Hulu and other platforms. The company’s General Entertainment Content unit estimates it will produce some 60 unscripted series, 30 comedy series, 25 drama series, 15 docuseries and limited series, 10 animated series, five made-for-TV movies and numerous shorts and specials throughout the 2022 fiscal year.