Walt Disney Company is restructuring its operations to prioritize streaming as the pandemic reshuffles the entertainment industry.
With the new structure, there will be three content groups: movies, sports and general entertainment such as television shows. Another arm will determine on which platforms content will be distributed.
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Disney is laying off 28,000 workers at its U.S. theme parks after the pandemic devastated Walt Disney World and kept Anaheim's Disneyland Resort shuttered for six months.
Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro said Tuesday that 67% of those being laid off from both Disney World and Disneyland are part-time employees.
"As difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal," said D'Amaro in a statement.
Disney World was able to open with a limited capacity in July, but Disneyland has been closed since March. D'Amaro took a jab at Gov. Gavin Newsom suggesting that his hand was forced by California's "unwillingness" to allow for the park to open.
On Tuesday, 19 state legislators pleaded with Newsom following calls from Anaheim's mayor to reopen the Disneyland and theme parks throughout California. They argued that parks can reopen safely but they are left in the dark as to which steps need to be followed for reopening.
The announcing statement also added that they are speaking to unions in order to know what steps are next for union-represented cast members.
Disney's third quarter earnings showed an 85% drop in revenues to $2 billion from the company's parks, experiences and products division compared to the same period last year.
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Disney Plus Surpasses 60 Million Subscribers<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNDk4NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTY1OTM2NX0.fjV1GsNR7y3nIaXWAixTIZYF_e7Y1BAC4bed1V7yx5I/image.jpg?width=980" id="9e659" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a41ec51e660a63473c0880ce0330e028" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />black smartphonePhoto by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash<p>Disney's earnings report Tuesday quantified the damage wrought by COVID-19 in the company's third quarter — which was entirely enveloped by the pandemic. </p><p>Each of Disney's four business segments suffered losses except for its direct-to-consumer and international operations, which includes the company's streaming app, Disney Plus.</p><p>The company also released new details about its release plans for the blockbuster live-action film, <em>Mulan</em>. </p><p>First, the revenue figures by segment, compared to 2019's corresponding quarter: </p><ul><li>Media Networks fell 2% to $6.6 billion</li><li>Parks, Experiences and Products tumbled 85% to $2 billion</li><li>Studio Entertainment dropped 55% to $1.7 billion</li><li>Direct-to-Consumer and International climbed 2% to $4 billion </li></ul><p>Disney Plus now has over 60 million subscribers, the company reported, a milestone Disney had previously announced it hoped to surpass by 2024. Add in ESPN+ and Hulu, and the company's total subscriber count now tops 100 million. Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said these numbers give the company confidence to "pursue even more innovative and bold initiatives as we grow our business." </p><p>The day's headline-grabber: Disney will release <em>Mulan </em>on Disney Plus in most markets where the service is available, including the U.S., rather than premiere it on the big screen. That's a big shock to the movie industry, where the theatrical release window usually gives movie theaters an exclusive several-months period to show films before they reach home viewers. <em>Mulan</em>, which was originally meant to hit theaters in March, is perhaps the highest-profile and biggest-budget film to be released direct-to-consumer. It will be available on September 4th for a price of $29.99. </p><p>Chapek called the decision a "one-off event" rather than a new way of doing business. It was the first call of Chapek's without his predecessor Bob Iger on the line.</p>
Rocket Lab Improves Payload Capacity<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNTAyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjE4MjM4OH0.wPvdEk4h-5qAomCavrO9QFfsCKZU1WpReCNufhhT8AA/image.jpg?width=980" id="98c90" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b2a0f707d2f85b15f0c5628e76db2aeb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Rocket Lab increased the payload capacity for its Electron launch vehicle to 600 pounds, far above the 225 kg it could support when the Electron launch vehicle first appeared in 2017.</p><p>"When we created Electron, we set out to develop a launch vehicle that small satellite operators would turn to when they needed a dedicated ride to a unique orbit on their schedule," founder and CEO Peter Beck said in a statement.</p><p>"We're proud to be delivering that capability and continuing to evolve our launch and satellite services to meet the market's ever-changing needs."</p><p>The company attributes the improvement to advanced battery technology.</p><p>The Long Beach-based lab is known for its 3-D printed and electric pump engines, known as Rutherford Engines, which company says are 90% more efficient than traditional gas pump engines. Their printing time: 24 hours.</p><p>Rocket Lab is set to launch again later this month.</p>
Microsoft Backs Maker of Voice-Activated Chip, Syntiant, in $35M Round<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNDk2MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjgyODk5N30.77xs4oSGU23C9wndb7xm6Hd4S-WFd4wL8aBuA9Q9-8c/image.jpg?width=2000&coordinates=0%2C38%2C0%2C33&height=1500" id="28093" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb00d72a37e756fb95f60912f2272c1a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Microsoft's venture fund M12 led a $35 million investment round in Irvine-based <a href="http://www.syntiant.com/" target="_blank">Syntiant</a>, a semiconductor-making company that's produced tiny voice recognition chips — smaller than a flea — that are faster than many others on the market.</p><p>The company, which is also backed by Amazon's Alexa Fund, makes an "always-on voice interface" that reacts to speech. It has already shipped out a million of the units which are put into cellphones, smart speakers, earbuds and laptops. </p><p>The venture capital arm of chip maker Applied Materials, Inc. also joined in the lead for the Series C round, along with Atlantic Bridge Capital, Alpha Edison and Miramar Digital Ventures also joined the round. The company has raised a total of $65 million since it was founded by four veterans of the chip industry. </p><p>"It is a tremendous honor to know that some of the world's leading tech investors are supporting our growth stage, as we deliver our deep learning voice solution to customers across the globe," said Kurt Busch, co-founder and CEO of Syntiant. "We are especially thrilled that production volumes of applications using our neural decision processors are increasing and expect orders to ramp even higher throughout the remainder of 2020.<br></p><p>It's estimated that the speech and voice recognition market is expected to reach $26.8 billion by 2025, according to report by Meticulous Research.</p>
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