Last Updated on 03/16/2021 by GS Staff
When people think about what Disney owns, some of the more obvious things come to mind such as the theme parks, Disney Channel, or Mickey Mouse. However, the company is massive with a diverse collection of subsidiaries as you will see below. This article highlights the core businesses owned by Disney. We think most readers will be surprised by what Disney actually owns.
What Disney Owns
- Disney Channel – The Disney Channel launched in April of 1983. It is made up of Disney, Disney Junior, and Disney XD. Disney targets kids ages 2 to 14, Disney Junior is geared toward kids 2 to 7, and Disney XD is primarily for kids ages 6 to 11. In 1985, The Disney Channel had 1.75 million subscribers. Today it has approximately 85 million subscribers, not including Disney Junior or XD.
- ESPN – The popular entertainment and sports network is owned 80% by Disney and 20% by Hearst Communications. ESPN was acquired by Disney in 1996 as a result of a merger between Disney and Capital Cities/ABC (the owner of ESPN at the time). The cable channels under ESPN are ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and the SEC Network. ESPN and ESPN2 are both estimated to have approximately 84 million subscribers as of 2020.
- FX – FX is a premium cable channel that primarily produces dramas, comedies, and non-scripted shows. It was first launched in 1994 by Fox Studios. The Walt Disney Company obtained FX in March 2019 when they acquired 21st Century Fox. FX Networks consists of FX, FXX, and FXM.
- National Geographic-Nature Geographic has television channels (National Geographic & National Geographic Wild) and a magazine that both focus on science, natural history, exploration, and similar topics.
- Freeform – A basic cable channel targeted mostly toward teens and young adults under 35.
- ABC Television Network – The network has affiliation agreements with about 240 local television stations that broadcast ABC programming.
- Television Production & Distributions – ABC Signature, 20th Television, and Touchstone Television are the major studios owned by Disney that produce programming found on ABC.
- Television Stations – Disney owns eight television stations that are mostly in major markets. These stations include WABC (New York, NY), KABC (Los Angeles, CA), WLS (Chicago, IL), WPVI (Philadelphia, PA), KGO (San Francisco, CA), KTRK (Houston, TX), WTVD (Raleigh-Durham, NC), and KFSN (Fresno, CA).
A+E & CTV
Disney owns 50% of A+E with the other 50% owned by Hearst. A+E operates popular cable channels that include A&E, History, Lifetime and Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Movie Network, Viceland, and FYI. A&E, History, and Lifetime each have approximately 85 million subscribers.
ESPN holds a 30% stake in the cable television channel owner of CTV. CTV is behind The Sports Networks (TSN).
Parks & Resorts
The following parks and resorts are fully owned or partial owned by Disney:
- Walt Disney World Resort (Florida) – MagicKingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom are all a part of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney also operates hotels, vacation clubs, and similar properties here. Additionally, Disney owns Disney Springs, a retail location on over 100 acres that has dining, shopping, and entertainment.
- Disneyland Resort (California) – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are the attractions of this resort. Three resort hotels and Downtown Disney are owned by the company.
- Disneyland Paris – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park are the two theme parks located just outside of Paris at Disneyland Paris. They also own several resort hotels, Disney Village (retail, dining, and entertainment), Val d’Europe (a planned community), and Villages Nature (vacation units, restaurants, etc.) near this resort.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (48% Ownership as of 2020) – It contains a theme park and three hotels.
- Shanghai Disney Resort (43% Ownership as of 2020) – The Resort includes a theme park, hotels, Disneytown (dining & entertainment), recreation, and retail.
- Tokyo Disney Resort (Revenue earned from intellectual property licensing to an operator of the resort) – this resort includes Toyko Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, hotels, retail, dining, and entertainment.
- Disney Cruise Line – The company operates four ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. Upcoming new ships include Disney Wish and two others to be named later. Look for the new ships in 2022 and beyond.
- Disney Vacation Club – Disney owns several resorts that are sold under a vacation ownership plan.
- Disney Resort & Spa (Hawaii) – A property owned in Oahu, Hawaii with about 350 hotel rooms, a spa, and a conference space. It has over 450 vacation club units.
- Adventures by Disney – It sells tour packages for travel around the world.
- National Geographic Expeditions (majority owner) – This business sells travel tours and guided expeditions.
Disney licenses characters (i.e. Mickey and Minnie) and other items to be used by third parties for such things as clothing, toys, and games.
The company sells Disney merchandise through its retail store (The Disney Store) and website (shopDisney). It has about 200 stores in North American and over 100 stores in other countries. Products can be purchased based on the various franchises that include Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
Motion Picture Operations
Disney is the parent company behind the following studios that produce full-length live-action films and/or animated films:
- Walt Disney Pictures – This studio has produced massive hit movies such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Frozen.
- Marvel – This is the studio behind superhero movies such as Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Black Panther, and many more. Yes, the company still makes comic books too.
- Lucusfilm – Lucasfilms created iconic films such as Indian Jones, Star Wars, and American Graffiti.
- Pixar – The company was bought by Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion in stock. The company produced the following franchises: Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Cars.
- Twentieth Century Studios – Disney acquired this studio in 2019 from Fox. It is known for making popular films such as Avatar, Ice Age, Deadpool, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
- Searchlight Pictures – The film studio is recently known for distributing Academy Award Best Picture films such as Birdman, The Shape of Water, and Slumdog Millionaire.
- Blue Sky Studios – Blue Sky is being shut down by Disney. It is projected to close its door in April 2021.
The company releases movies to DVD, Blu-Ray, and electronically after they have already appeared in theaters for several months. Disney also licenses for VOD services. Around 2,500 titles are active in various formats.
Disney earns revenue by licensing its films to cable and broadcast networks. This is done after the window for home entertainment sales has closed.
Disney Music Group
This business produces music for upcoming films and television programs.
Disney Theatrical Group
The Group creates and produces or licenses live entertainment such as productions for The Lion King, Frozen, Disney On Ice, and more.
- Disney+ – This streaming service was launch in November 2019 and has approximately 95 million subscribers as of February 2021. It features programming from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic. It is certainly looking to gain ground on Netflix and its 200 million worldwide subscribers.
- Disney+Hotstar – Disney+Hotstar is a Disney streaming service available in India and Indonesia that is operated by Star India.
- Hulu – Disney owns 67% of Hulu with Comcast’s NBCUniversal owning the remaining share of this popular subscription streaming service. Disney may gain 100% ownership in Hulu in the coming years. Stay tuned!
- ESPN+ – a subscription streaming service primarily for live sports.
Disney Revenue & Income
Total revenue for Disney in the fiscal year 2020 was approximately $65.4 billion. However, the company had a net income loss of $2,864,000,00, which was largely due to the impact of Covid on theme parks and other businesses. The table below provides a sampling of financial data from 2017 to 2020 to give you an idea how the company performed over a longer period.
|Fiscal Year 2020||Fiscal Year 2019||Fiscal Year 2018||Fiscal Year 2017|
|Cost of Revenue||43,880,000,000||42,018,000,000||32,726,000,000||30,306,000,000|
Who Owns Disney?
Disney is a publicly-traded company. It trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIS. It is owned by the various shareholders of Disney. This includes individuals, insiders of the company, and institutions such as mutual funds and hedge funds. Not one individual or business owns Disney stocks. Individuals can purchase shares of Disney through most online brokerage accounts such as ETrade or Ally Invest.