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A Spirited 15 Rounds ...

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Eh, I don't see it that way. That sort of feels like how the first born feels when their parents have another kid. They aren't replacing Snow White and Cinderella. Yes, the parks are a different story, I understand people feel they are invading. But as a whole, it doesn't make sense for Disney to have built this empire and business model for content creation and not try to expand on it.

Let's face it, as much as people of all ages might love them, the company would have always been inherently limited in it's reach if it just stayed with characters who's largest audience was 2 to 9 year-old's. If it wasn't for Pixar, that would mean being largely be limited to your main earning audience further to only 2 to 9 year-old girls. That's pretty narrow, even if you manage to capture some to become life-long fans.
That was an intentional short sighted decision made during the second half of the Eisner year. With the acquisition of these brands, Disney, both the company and the BRAND, have been hemmed into a corner, not unlike a multi brand car conglomerate like GM.

Think about it. General Motors was formed over time through the accumulation of successful car brands with the reasoning that a larger organization could help all of them design, manufacture and sell cars whilst focusing on particular verticals. Chevy was the everyman's brand. Pontiac was a sportier version of Chevy. Buick and Oldsmobile are a step up from the everyman brands, but still affordable. Cadillac was the car that the successful man graduated to over a lifetime of car ownership because of its status as the elite American automobile. I've chosen to leave out brands like Packard, Saturn and Hummer, but you get the idea.

What Iger has done with his BRANDed strategy is effectively the same. Bob didn't say, "Disney has been excluding boys from its audience, we ought to expand the tent." He instead bought brands like Pixar, largely general neutral, Marvel, strongly identified with young boys/men/comic book guys, and Star Wars, perceived to be male centric, but more gender neutral than most realize. Today's Disney can remain largely a young girl's brand under this arrangement. Wildly successful non-princess female characters like Doc McStuffins and Judy Hopps are the exception when it comes to what has been pushed under the Disney moniker in this period. Aside from Mickey and friends, the princesses are the first thing that comes to mind when you say Disney. During Walt's lifetime, the company made three "princess" movies, out of 19 features. The Lasseter/Catmull years at Feature Animation alone will yield at least six, roughly half of the studio's output. Disney Junior, except for a certain MD, features largely gender segregated programming. The Disney Channel is defined by its tween sitcoms. For a generation of children, Disney is a girl's brand.

The problem with using BRANDs for market segmentation, as practiced by GM and today's Disney, comes from change, both the ability to adapt to it and to grow beyond what you are traditionally known for to embrace new opportunities. If corporate brass decides "this is what Disney is" or "Marvel is for boy's first', the company severs the opportunity to change. GM's brands faired poorly as the fifties gave way to the sixties, followed by the seventies and eighties and so on. Many of GM's once iconic brands like Packard, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile are long gone because they got left behind, optimized for a bygone era. Rising gas prices and the higher quality foreign imports from Germany, Japan and Korea decimated GM and the Big Three's stranglehold on the American market. GM's response consisted of creating new brands like GEO and Saturn to appeal to the same people who used to buy Chevys, but found Toyotas and Hondas better suited to their needs. Only through decades of painful layoffs, ignoring promising ventures like NUMMI and EV1, a government bailout, bankruptcy and restructuring has GM become move adaptive to change.

Iger's Disney, and its choice selection of BRANDs, are optimized for today. The bets paid off very nicely for the company. However, success hides problems. Like you note, Disney is still painted into the same corner it was in 2005, a BRAND for young children, particularly girls. At present there is no incentive for Disney to expand to the place where it should be, a producer of entertainment for all ages and genders, because the BRANDs it controls effectively cover this, for now.

Eisner's Disney, by necessity and perspective, wanted to build a bigger tent for Disney. Disney needed to change and grow, and it did. At the height of the Eisner years, Disney was as big as it was in Walt's day. Even as things went south in the second half of his tenure, the
need to expand and strengthen Disney under that name, and everything that comes with it as a point of pride and ownership, remained.

Disney hasn't endured for almost 100 years as General Entertainment, nor will it.
 
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Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
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The Disney of today is more like Toys R Us. It's the home of brands kids love. No kid gets excited about Geoffrey the Giraffe, but they do know where they can get Lego, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Transformers etc.

The same is kind of true for WDW. Mickey doesn't mean a lot to many kids, but they know the place with the castle has Star Wars, Toy Story and Princesses. It's a bit disappointing for those of us who loved "Disney" because it meant high quality, attractive enviroments based on exotic places, different time periods and futuristic technology.

For the record, I'm fine with Disney buying Star Wars & Marvel, but feel the "Disney" I know and love has largely slipped away or been forgotten by its own fans.
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
The same is kind of true for WDW. Mickey doesn't mean a lot to many kids, but they know the place with the castle has Star Wars, Toy Story and Princesses.
Um, hardly. Mickey is very well known and popular among the pre-school/elementary school set with Roadster Racers and Clubhouse just before that. Everyone I know with young kids watches Disney Jr and you can't help but get to know Mickey and friends if you do.

And the cohort before those shows had House of Mouse and Mickey Mouse Works.

Oh, and they've brought back Ducktales as well.
 

HMF

Well-Known Member
That was an intentional short sighted decision made during the second half of the Eisner year. With the acquisition of these brands, Disney, both the company and the BRAND, have been hemmed into a corner, not unlike a multi brand car conglomerate like GM.

Think about it. General Motors was formed over time through the accumulation of successful car brands with the reasoning that a larger organization could help all of them design, manufacture and sell cars whilst focusing on particular verticals. Chevy was the everyman's brand. Pontiac was a sportier version of Chevy. Buick and Oldsmobile are a step up from the everyman brands, but still affordable. Cadillac was the car that the successful man graduated to over a lifetime of car ownership because of its status as the elite American automobile. I've chosen to leave out brands like Packard, Saturn and Hummer, but you get the idea.

What Iger has done with his BRANDed strategy is effectively the same. Bob didn't say, "Disney has been excluding boys from its audience, we ought to expand the tent." He instead bought brands like Pixar, largely general neutral, Marvel, strongly identified with young boys/men/comic book guys, and Star Wars, perceived to be male centric, but more gender neutral than most realize. Today's Disney can remain largely a young girl's brand under this arrangement. Wildly successful non-princess female characters like Doc McStuffins and Judy Hopps are the exception when it comes to what has been pushed under the Disney moniker in this period. Aside from Mickey and friends, the princesses are the first thing that comes to mind when you say Disney. During Walt's lifetime, the company made three "princess" movies, out of 19 features. The Lasseter/Catmull years at Feature Animation alone will yield at least six, roughly half of the studio's output. Disney Junior, except for a certain MD, features largely gender segregated programming. The Disney Channel is defined by its tween sitcoms. For a generation of children, Disney is a girl's brand.

The problem with using BRANDs for market segmentation, as practiced by GM and today's Disney, comes from change, both the ability to adapt to it and to grow beyond what you are traditionally known for to embrace new opportunities. If corporate brass decides "this is what Disney is" or "Marvel is for boy's first', the company severs the opportunity to change. GM's brands faired poorly as the fifties gave way to the sixties, followed by the seventies and eighties and so on. Many of GM's once iconic brands like Packard, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile are long gone because they got left behind, optimized for a bygone era. Rising gas prices and the higher quality foreign imports from Germany, Japan and Korea decimated GM and the Big Three's stranglehold on the American market. GM's response consisted of creating new brands like GEO and Saturn to appeal to the same people who used to buy Chevys, but found Toyotas and Hondas better suited to their needs. Only through decades of painful layoffs, ignoring promising ventures like NUMMI and EV1, a government bailout, bankruptcy and restructuring has GM become move adaptive to change.

Iger's Disney, and its choice selection of BRANDs, are optimized for today. The bets paid off very nicely for the company. However, success hides problems. Like you note, Disney is still painted into the same corner it was in 2005, a BRAND for young children, particularly girls. At present there is no incentive for Disney to expand to the place where it should be, a producer of entertainment for all ages and genders, because the BRANDs it controls effectively cover this, for now.

Eisner's Disney, by necessity and perspective, wanted to build a bigger tent for Disney. Disney needed to change and grow, and it did. At the height of the Eisner years, Disney was as big as it was in Walt's day. Even as things went south in the second half of his tenure, the
need to expand and strengthen Disney under that name, and everything that comes with it as a point of pride and ownership, remained.

Disney hasn't endured for almost 100 years as General Entertainment, nor will it.
This is the folly of thinking of Disney in terms of a "BRAND" rather than as a cultural institution.
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
That was an intentional short sighted decision made during the second half of the Eisner year. With the acquisition of these brands, Disney, both the company and the BRAND, have been hemmed into a corner, not unlike a multi brand car conglomerate like GM.

Think about it. General Motors was formed over time through the accumulation of successful car brands with the reasoning that a larger organization could help all of them design, manufacture and sell cars whilst focusing on particular verticals. Chevy was the everyman's brand. Pontiac was a sportier version of Chevy. Buick and Oldsmobile are a step up from the everyman brands, but still affordable. Cadillac was the car that the successful man graduated to over a lifetime of car ownership because of its status as the elite American automobile. I've chosen to leave out brands like Packard, Saturn and Hummer, but you get the idea.
I get what you are saying, but I think you are not correct at all. I think Disney has done the opposite thing and taken brands that tended to be pigeonholed into certain groups and gone out of their way to broaden their appeal. Marvel has gone from being geeky, male dominated to something a random 20 some girl has an awareness of and can speak about. Star Wars was always very popular and diverse, but they've made efforts to make it more girl and minority friendly and child accessible. Yes, Frozen was very young girl and princess centric, but that's the minority of Disney branded stuff -- I mean, Wreck It Ralph? Big Hero Six? Zootopia? Even Moana being kinda princess-y was more adventure based just with a female lead. Pixar has always tended to have broad appeal.

Disney hasn't endured for almost 100 years as General Entertainment, nor will it.
I'm not even sure I understand this statement. Disney, over its history, has basically defined general entertainment. That's basically been their shtick with films and the theme parks of being wholesome family entertainment that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
 

UpAllNight

Well-Known Member
You're all so over dramatic.

I don't think I've seen a new born child without some form of Mickey Mouse related attire. Kids are still brought up on classic timeless Disney films, and Disney very well knows, and plays on nostalgia instilled through great childhood memories. If you think that's ever changing, or will change, you aren't giving credit to one of the most successful companies that has ever existed.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
I'm not even sure I understand this statement. Disney, over its history, has basically defined general entertainment. That's basically been their shtick with films and the theme parks of being wholesome family entertainment that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
Like a generic conglomerate like General Motors or General Electric or Mondelez or Unilever.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
You're all so over dramatic.

I don't think I've seen a new born child without some form of Mickey Mouse related attire. Kids are still brought up on classic timeless Disney films, and Disney very well knows, and plays on nostalgia instilled through great childhood memories. If you think that's ever changing, or will change, you aren't giving credit to one of the most successful companies that has ever existed.
When's the last time you've heard someone say "that's a Kodak moment"? Something can be deeply resonant for generations of people until it isn't.
 
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Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
When's the last time you've heard someone say "that's a Kodak moment"? Someone can be deeply resonant for generations of people until it isn't.
Didn't they just announce a big new Mickey Mouse ride based on the new Mickey (and Minnie, and Donald, and Daisy, and Goofy...) cartoons they're making which are getting millions of hits on YouTube?

I don't see any indication that Disney or anyone else has forgotten about Mickey and all the classic characters, not that they are turning "Disney" into their young girls brand. If anything, they're bringing all the new properties under the Disney brand through the Disney-branded stores, theme parks, etc.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Didn't they just announce a big new Mickey Mouse ride based on the new Mickey (and Minnie, and Donald, and Daisy, and Goofy...) cartoons they're making which are getting millions of hits on YouTube?
Remember how big the Looney Toons used to be? The fab five are less important to the company now than at any point in company history, but they aren't going away overnight. Disney sits on generations of goodwill. The actions taken under the Iger years will diminish the long term relevance of Disney and its most famous characters.

Felix the Cat was the most famous cartoon character in the world, until a mouse named Mickey showed up.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
I went by Steamboat Willie as the date that "Disney" became a thing.

But, since we have just 10 years to go for Disney to be a centennial company, are you really on board with your claim that Disney will not endure 100 years?
Disney hasn't gotten this close by buying every worthwhile IP it doesn't own. Disney used to create the future. Buying IP won't insure its success for another hundred years.

FWIW, GM declared its bankruptcy in its 100th year.
 
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ford91exploder

Resident Curmudgeon
I went by Steamboat Willie as the date that "Disney" became a thing.

But, since we have just 10 years to go for Disney to be a centennial company, are you really on board with your claim that Disney will not endure 100 years?
If Disney keeps backing losing horses no they will not make 100 years. Especially since its apparent that disney does not understand at all the digital age
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
Yeah, they did it the old fashioned way: they appropriated as many public domain IPs as possible without paying a dime for 'em!! (Pooh and Poppins excepted.)
:)

I think what's interesting is that Disney the company is basically doing the same thing with Marvel: They are taking established stories and characters and creating films based on them while modifying the stories for modern sensibilities and wide audience access.

People will chime in with the obvious difference of "buying" the IP versus simply using public domain or licensing IP, but I'm talking more in terms of the creative process of adaptation not the acquisition.
 

fgmnt

Active Member
You're all so over dramatic.

I don't think I've seen a new born child without some form of Mickey Mouse related attire. Kids are still brought up on classic timeless Disney films, and Disney very well knows, and plays on nostalgia instilled through great childhood memories. If you think that's ever changing, or will change, you aren't giving credit to one of the most successful companies that has ever existed.
You're not necessarily wrong, but it's important to understand the difference between the work that Eisner and previous leadership did to The Walt Disney Company and what Iger has done to DIS. All of the mergers and acquisitions made over the last decade are not necessarily bad moves for Disney, but actions surrounding these acquisitions, along with other moves the company has made, are examples of inorganic growth.

The Walt Disney Company effectively makes a stable profit off of the back of the intellectual property it owns, but that property came from well-executed creative vision. Sure, you can point to early Walt Disney Productions movies being retelling of old stories, but that was not the whole of the business, and there is no more obvious organic growth than the creation of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It's important to point to the implosion of the Disney decade, the whirly merge with ABC, and the falling out with Pixar as obvious negatives to the Eisner tenure, but the organic growth already described can't be taken away, especially considering how much work was done to turn P&R into even more of a cash cow. GF, BW... these massive, beautiful resorts that still make the company ridiculous sums of money.

So, that really just leads me to ask, where are we seeing domestic organic growth at DIS under Iger? What are employees of the company able to create with him at the helm? You can only "synergize" for so long before you start to divide by zero. This stunting of organic growth underscores the one thing that can kill this company outside of global thermonuclear war: an virulent, institutional rot that won't fully reveal itself until it's far too late.
 
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