Disney paper 5-4-2010

Disney paper 5-4-2010 - Running Head: THE DISNEY COMPANY...

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Running Head: THE DISNEY COMPANY The Walt Disney Company and Affiliated Companies: Has the Magic Faded? Brett Bloemer Seth Hall Vanessa Jahnke Chris Kliewer Terrance McKnight Margaret Ting Tod Willoughby Teachers College – Columbia University
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Running Head: THE DISNEY COMPANY Presenting Issue The Walt Disney Company and Affiliated Companies (Disney) currently reigns as the largest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Its corporate assets and influence span the entire range of visual media, from family programming to network television and sports entertainment. CEO Robert Iger, who assumed the position in 2005, was recently described as “having a Cinderella moment” after a year in which the company increased its acquisitions amid a poor economy and appeared to be “retooling antiquated industry practice, particularly when it comes to movie-making” (Barnes, 2010). Disney continued its expansion with the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and Pixar Studios. The Pixar deal has been received well; however, the Marvel purchase has been criticized, despite granting Disney with the addition of a library of over 5,000 comic-book characters and $4 billion revenue base. The Marvel expansion also comes with risk, as Marvel represents a decisively different image than the traditional Disney motif. “Over the long run, we suspect this will be viewed as Mr. Iger’s first major mistake as C.E.O.,” (Barnes, 2010) wrote a Citigroup analyst, Jason Bazinet, at the time of the acquisition. The potential for diluted brand recognition or mixed signals persist as Disney evolves to maintain profitability in an environment far different from the days of its founding. Company Background Disney’s history embraces the themes of change, expansion, and innovation. The company, originating as a short-film cartoon studio in 1926, encountered its first major risk when it began investing in full-length films in the 1930s. Disney successfully capitalized on this endeavor, which led to expansion into film-related merchandise in stores across America. Disney also showed flexibility while growing. The Second World War halted major innovation, 2
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Running Head: THE DISNEY COMPANY yet Disney continued producing educational cartoons for the government while re-releasing previous successes in order to maintain wartime viability (The Walt Disney Company, 2009). Postwar Disney experienced incredible growth and evolution; this period produced live- action films, a Disney television network, and theme parks in America, Europe, and Japan. However, this expansion did not come without challenge. Film output during the years of theme-park construction declined substantially. Creativity in the film division seemed stifled (Rukstad & Collis, 2001, p. 3). The death of founder Walt Disney may have explained this era of massive yet incoherent expansion. The company’s identity appeared constrained by its founder’s explicit vision. The 1984 hiring of CEO Michael Eisner marked a transition away from Disney family
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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Disney paper 5-4-2010 - Running Head: THE DISNEY COMPANY...

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