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    Disney's $60B Park Investment & Amazon Bulks Up for the Holidays

    enSeptember 20, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Disney's $60 billion investment in parks and cruise linesDisney invests $60 billion in parks and cruise lines to drive growth amid challenges and shifting market conditions, while the Fed maintains rates and emphasizes flexibility.

      Disney is making a significant investment of $60 billion into its global parks and cruise lines over the next decade, as part of CEO Bob Iger's plan to drive growth through its various business divisions. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is expected to maintain its current interest rates at today's meeting, with Jerome Powell emphasizing flexibility in response to questions about future rate increases. The investment in Disney's parks business comes amid challenges for the company, including a feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and lackluster performance from some Marvel movies. The focus on parks is significant as Disney Plus and cable are currently facing struggles to generate profits. Overall, these developments reflect efforts by the companies to adapt to changing economic and market conditions.

    • Disney's Theme Parks Driving Company's GrowthDisney's theme parks bring in 80% of profits, account for a third of revenue, and welcomed 121M visitors in 2022, with spending per guest up 42% since 2019. Disney invests in new experiences and three new cruise ships to capitalize on growth potential.

      Disney is heavily investing in its theme parks business as it is currently the only area of the company experiencing significant growth. This is reflected in the parks bringing in 80% of the company's profits and accounting for a third of its total revenue. With an estimated $10 billion in profit this year, the parks business is a major source of revenue for Disney. The number of visitors to Disney Parks has also rebounded nicely from COVID shutdowns, with approximately 121 million people visiting in 2022. Additionally, the average spending per guest has increased by 42% since 2019. Despite this success, Disney's other areas of business, such as cable and film, are facing challenges. For instance, ESPN is no longer the cash cow it once was, and Disney Plus is facing competition in the streaming space. The box office has also been disappointing for Disney, with high-profile flops like the new Indiana Jones movie. In response, Disney is looking to capitalize on the success of its theme parks by investing in new experiences based on popular IPs like Coco, Zootopia, Encanto, and Black Panther. Disney is also investing in three new cruise ships. Despite the success of the theme parks, the fate of some expensive projects, such as the Galactic Star Cruiser Hotel, remains uncertain. Overall, Disney's focus on its theme parks business is a strategic move to address the challenges faced by other areas of the company and to capitalize on the growth potential of this area.

    • Disney's expansion into oceans, Amazon's ecommerce growthDisney is expanding its business on the seas with new cruise ships, while Amazon is seeing significant growth in ecommerce sales and hiring logistics workers to meet increased demand during the holiday season

      Disney is expanding its business beyond land, focusing on the unexplored oceans due to limited expansion opportunities on land. Disney currently has 8 cruise ships and is building a new one in Singapore with 6,000 rooms, indicating significant growth in this area. Amazon, on the other hand, is bullish on ecommerce spending during the holiday season and plans to hire 250,000 logistics workers, a significant increase from previous years. This growth is driven by the continued growth of ecommerce sales, which are expected to grow at a much faster rate than overall retail sales this holiday season. Additionally, Amazon has benefited from Shopify's decision to shutter its shipping and logistics business and partner with Amazon instead, creating a need for Amazon to handle more orders during the busy holiday shopping season.

    • Retailers push holiday shopping earlier and MBA graduates turn to entrepreneurship through acquisitionRetailers are encouraging consumers to shop for Christmas gifts earlier with summer and fall sales, while MBA graduates are opting for entrepreneurship through acquisition of existing small businesses due to a tough job market and retiring business owners

      Retailers, including Amazon, are pushing holiday shopping earlier and earlier, with Amazon hosting sales events in the summer and fall to encourage consumers to buy their Christmas gifts well before December. Meanwhile, MBA graduates are turning to entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) as an alternative to the traditional startup route. ETA involves buying and running existing small businesses, which is becoming increasingly popular due to a challenging job market for MBA graduates and an aging population of business owners looking to retire. This trend reflects both a push factor, as companies prefer candidates with specialized skills over generalist MBAs, and a pull factor, as small business owners look to sell their profitable businesses to younger entrepreneurs.

    • Advantages of acquiring an existing businessAcquiring an existing business offers potential for better work-life balance, established processes, and quicker profitability. However, finding the right target business can be challenging.

      Starting a business from scratch versus acquiring an existing one presents different advantages and challenges. For those seeking ownership experience, acquiring an existing business may offer a better work-life balance, established processes, and the potential for a shorter time to profitability. However, the search for a target business to acquire can be lengthy and uncertain, with only one in three searches resulting in a successful acquisition. On the other hand, the recent decision to allow more casual attire in the US Senate reflects a broader trend towards more relaxed workplaces, as the traditional business casual dress code evolves to accommodate a more modern and flexible approach to work.

    • Debating Senators' Dress Code and the Evolution of NormsThe debate over senators' dress code raises questions about balancing professionalism, personal expression, and societal norms, with the athleisure trend adding complexity to the issue, and the subjective nature of art adding another layer of controversy.

      The debate surrounding senators' dress code in the American workplace raises philosophical questions about respect, values, and the evolution of societal norms. While some argue for the importance of maintaining a professional image during important business, others see it as a matter of personal expression and changing times. The athleisure trend's surge in popularity, with companies like Lululemon experiencing significant growth, further complicates the issue. Meanwhile, a recent court ruling involving Danish artist Jens Haaning's "Take the Money and Run" artwork highlights the subjective nature of art and the potential for controversy in the art world. Ultimately, these stories underscore the complexities of balancing tradition, personal expression, and progress in various aspects of society.

    • Art and Money: A Complex RelationshipArtist borrowed money under false pretenses, court didn't side with him, now regrets actions, debate on art's role in money and ethics.

      The relationship between art and money is a complex issue. In the discussed case, an artist borrowed a large sum of money from a museum under false pretenses, intending to return blank canvases. The museum displayed the blank canvases, and the artist claimed it was part of the artwork's concept. However, the court did not side with the artist, deducting the artist fee and viewing fee from the loan amount. The artist now regrets his actions and feels the financial burden, sparking a debate about the role of money in art and the artist's responsibility to fulfill contractual obligations. Ultimately, the incident highlights the intricate relationship between art, money, and the ethical dilemmas they present.

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