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Disney Hires Ex-Apple Employee to Oversee Metaverse Push

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The Walt Disney Company (DIS - Free Report) shares are down 30.4% year to date compared with the Zacks Media Conglomerates industry’s fall of 24.2% and the Consumer Discretionary sector’s decline of 27.2%. This Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company has been witnessing a broader pullback in the market on concerns about inflation and other macroeconomic factors.

However, Disney has been taking efforts to bounce back from the plunge. The company has been showing interest in the metaverse since the curtain was raised by Meta’s Facebook in 2021. Disney had previously stated that it sees metaverse as the next evolution of its almost 100-year-old storytelling business.

Per a Deadline article, the company recently hired Mark Bozon as the vice president (VP) of the Next Generation Storytelling Creative Experiences in Disney. Bozon spent 12 years at Apple in creative and gaming executive roles. His role will likely include businesses across multiple aspects of Disney, including toys, parks and TV.

Bozon has been hired by Mike White, the senior VP of Next Generation Storytelling Creative Experiences at Disney. Earlier this year, White was appointed to lead the entertainment giant's strategy for the metaverse.

 

Rising Competition in The Metaverse Space

Amid the persistent metaverse hype in the news and across social media, several companies are starting to contemplate their role in the same. Companies across all major industry verticals have started investing in emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality since these technologies will potentially bring industries closer to the metaverse.

Metaverse gained significant attention in the industry after Facebook changed its company name to Meta Platforms in 2021. With the name change, Meta confirmed that it is rebranding itself and focusing on building the metaverse.

Disney is known to adopt newer technologies as soon as it becomes available. So, it comes as no surprise when the company announced its plans to join the metaverse bandwagon.

In the last reported quarter, management stated that Disney will be exploring options beyond entertainment and sports streaming. Disney has hinted that this expansion would be focused on completely new verticals, such as sports betting, gaming and the Metaverse.

Per a Verdict article, earlier this year, Disney received approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to create its virtual world stimulator at its theme parks. The patent outlines Disney’s plans to create real-world theme park ride where users can experience a 3D virtual world, using simultaneous localization and mapping

Disney has been using 3-D technology in its parks, primarily for large-scale experiences with many guests. The company will focus on creating individual guest experiences. With the focus on metaverse, Disney intends to create opportunities to better connect physical spaces like parks to digital ventures such as its streaming service Disney+ and virtual environments as and when they emerge.

Disney has already experimented with blockchain technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Last year, Disney unveiled a series of Golden Moments NFTs, which resemble superheroes based on Disney, Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel Stories.

Several entertainment companies are exploring ways to monetize the Metaverse. Studios including Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD - Free Report) , Paramount Global (PARA - Free Report) and Sony have entered the metaverse by minting collectibles related to their movies.

Last year, Paramount Global entered into a strategic partnership with RECUR, an NFT company, to create a unified environment where fans can buy, collect and trade NFTs as digital products and collectibles across Paramount’s cherished franchises.

Recently, Warner Bros. announced that it would collaborate with the NFT-centric social media platform, Nifty’s. Per the collaboration, the companies will be launching a story-driven NFT collection called ‘Looney Tunes: What’s Up Block?’. Last year, Warner Bros. launched NFT collectibles for its movie The Matrix Resurrection.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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