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The Strategy Room

Back to School, Latest on TikTok, Disney and More…

By: Melissa DiMercurio

Happy Wednesday, Lunch Breakers!

If you are currently sipping on a piña colada from the comfort of your own living room, you’re not alone – we hope you are enjoying your staycation. For the rest of you Lunch Breakers that are still on the clock, dig into your home office seats with the latest news making headlines.

Back to School Shopping

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. no, not Christmas, but “back to school.” The back-to-school shopping season is the second most important period for retailers behind the holidays. However, this year looks incredibly different because of the coronavirus pandemic and it is something that all communications professionals should keep in mind for campaign planning purposes.

Pending reopening plans and uncertainty about the school year means parents are holding back on spending. Typically, the season kicks off in mid-July and peaks in mid-August. This year, experts predict the peak will hit in late August and spill into most of September.

As more schools shift to virtual, retailers are pivoting too. For example, Walmart’s website has special areas for teachers and virtual learning tools. Sam’s Club has webcams ,headphones and lap desks for kids learning at home. Best Buy introduced new services, including a “Parent Hub,” which provides tips and resources for distance learning.

Latest in TikTok News

Have you been keeping up with all of the TikTok news?! We sure have. Just a few hours ago, CNBC reported that Microsoft could buy TikTok for as much as $30 billion! Microsoft plans to finish its acquisition talks within the next three weeks, ahead of the September 15 deadline put in place by President Trump, who has promised to ban the Chinese-owned app if it doesn’t sell to an American company. If the deal goes through, Microsoft has already agreed with the U.S. government to bring TikTok’s code from China to the U.S. within one year. On Sunday, Microsoft confirmed in a blog post that it has held talks with TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance to buy its business in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It’s currently the only leading bidder.

Mickey Navigates the Pandemic

All eyes are on Disney while they navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.  Historically, Disney has always been a brand to watch due to their elite teams of internal communications and marketing professionals across the country and all over the globe.

On Tuesday, Disney reported mixed earnings for its fiscal third quarter of 2020.  The brand is continuing to feel the impact of the pandemic with a $3.5 billion hit to its operating income from parks being closed, however their streaming services are seeing significant success.

Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment was the only one to report an increase in year-over-year revenue. Disney said it now has 100 million paid subscribers across its streaming services, which include Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. More than half are for Disney+, which comes only a year after launch.

Disney also announced on Tuesday that the remake of the 1998 animated “Mulan”, will be heading to Disney+ for an additional fee of $29.99.

Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO, said the pandemic has forced the company to think of “different approaches” to better serve consumers. “We thought it was important to find alternative ways to bring this exceptional family friendly film to them in a timely manner,” he said on the company’s third quarter earnings call.

Chapek added that “Mulan” will be released simultaneously in theaters in markets where Disney+ is not available and, of course, where theaters are open.

The Shape of Tomorrow

To round out our headlines of the day, we thought we would provide you with an interesting new series produced by Fast Company titled, “The Shape of Tomorrow.”

In this series, business leaders talk candidly about how COVID-19 has transformed their industries. The feature series covers everything from travel, to live sports, festivals, and more through the eyes of the world’s top experts. You’ll read thoughts from top executives at Hyatt, Airbnb, Kayak, etc.

Happy reading!




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