Roy Gilbert

Disney CEO Bob Iger is about to take the biggest risk of his career

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As Disney’s CEO, he has led the company through a commanding 14 years, peaking with a dominating 2019. This year alone, Disney’s film studio boasted the highest-grossing year in box office history , with months to spare. His parks and resorts opened the largest expansion ever with the innovative Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge . Oh, and on top of all of that, he closed the company’s $71 billion acquisition for most of 21st Century Fox .

But all of that may not mean as much if Disney+ , the company’s upcoming streaming service, isn’t a hit. For Iger, who has said that he plans to step down in 2021, it may be his last — and riskiest — bet yet.

The media industry is rapidly evolving, and Disney, one of the biggest media companies on the planet, needs to stay ahead of the curve. There’s competition everywhere. Legacy media companies like NBCUniversal and CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, are ramping up new streaming services. So are tech giants like Apple, to match consumers’ changing tastes while digital disruptors like Netflix and Amazon continue to stockpile subscribers.

Disney has created an empire around theme parks, merchandising, live TV and a blockbuster film slate, but now the nearly 100-year-old company is moving into an entirely new business in streaming video. With a competitive subscription price, marketing muscle and a trove of beloved content from Disney’s valuable vault, Disney+ is the key to the company’s future.

But it also marks a costly shift from Disney’s longtime business […]

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