Dow Jones pulls back as Apple stock declines due to China’s crackdown on gaming apps, and Disney stock rises amid higher streaming prices

the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^ DJI) was down about 0.1% as of 11:45 a.m. EST Thursday, a small move to end what has been a turbulent year for the stock market. The Dow Jones fell below 20,000 in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and led to widespread stay-at-home orders. The pandemic was never brought under control, but that didn’t stop the Dow Jones from finally reaching new all-time highs later in the year. The Dow Jones will end 2020 up more than 6% if nothing changes by the end of the day.

With regard to individual actions, actions of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) were down a bit after the company removed thousands of paid game apps from its Chinese App Store. Meanwhile, Disney (NYSE: DIS) Shares rose after the company reportedly forecast a price hike for its ESPN + streaming service.

Man with headphones looking at his cell phone

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple to remove gaming apps in China

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that tech giant Apple was planning to remove thousands of gaming apps from its App Store in China due to government pressure. Apple reportedly warned Chinese developers earlier this month that paid gaming apps were in danger of being phased out.

China requires paid video games to be licensed before release, a policy that has been in place for four years. However, app developers were able to bypass this rule on Apple’s platform. Apple began to fill this gap this year, the Newspaper reports.

Apple continued on Thursday by removing 39,000 gaming apps from its Chinese App Store, according to Reuters. These include popular titles like Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20. According to research firm Qimai, 74 of the 1,500 best paid game apps from the Chinese App Store are still available.

The licensing requirement applies to both paid games and games with in-app purchases, so Apple’s move could push more developers to go for an ad-supported model. Apple is reducing sales of apps and in-app content, so such a change would hurt Apple’s sales in China.

Apple shares were down about 0.8% late Thursday morning. If nothing dramatic happens to the stock price for the rest of the day, Apple stock will end the year up over 81%.

Disney’s ESPN + raises prices

Considering the popularity of Disney’s streaming services, it’s safe to say that the entertainment giant has some pricing power. The company plans to increase the monthly price of its flagship Disney + service from $ 6.99 to $ 7.99 in March, a move that likely won’t cause much churn given the service’s low price compared to the competition. .

Disney’s sports-focused ESPN + streaming service joins Disney + to raise prices in 2021, says Variety. The price of an ESPN + annual subscription will drop from $ 49.99 to $ 59.99 on January 8, with renewals to remain at the old price until at least March 2. The price of UFC pay-per-view events on the service is also increasing. Viewers will now have to shell out $ 69.99 per event, down from a previous price of $ 64.99.

Disney expects ESPN + to accumulate between 20 million and 30 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024, up from a previous target of 8 million to 12 million subscribers. Disney also expects the service to generate profits by fiscal 2023.

Streaming is a big part of Disney’s future, and the company has so far shown a knack for quickly gaining subscribers to its various services. Disney shares rose about 0.65% late Thursday morning; the stock jumped more than 26% in 2020.