Disney Corporate Strategy(a).Pdf

5453 Words22 Pages
Olin Business School
Washington University

Published: 2002 Revised: 2009

Disney Corporate Strategy (A) Barbarians at the Magic Kingdom’s Gate*

Introduction The next big takeover fight – and it would be a beauty – may involve Walt Disney Productions. By the time you get this issue, Disney’s defense strategy may already be unfolding. But it will produce no quick victory for Disney even if a white knight comes along, and even if the principle attacker, Saul Steinberg, can be bought off. One by one, Hollywood’s great studios have been plucked by the smart out-of-town moneymen. Paramount by the late Charles Bluhdorn. Twentieth Century-Fox by Marvin Davis and Marc Rich. MGMUnited Artists by Kirk Kerkorian. Columbia by
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The first major success of this division was “Seal Island,” a nature film that won an Oscar in 1949. Also in 1949, Disney formed a music company to create, produce and maintain control over the music and songs featured in Disney productions but often performed by famous artists. Disney later moved into live-action features with “Treasure Island” in 1950. Disney continued to innovate in the live-action format by combining animation with live action in the film “Mary Poppins.” As Disney’s film library had grown, Disney brought distribution in-house with the formation of Buena Vista Distribution Co., in 1953. In films, Disney kept costs low by developing its own talent pool. For cartoon features, characters were infinitely reusable and never required a salary, while for live-action features, Disney shied away from using well-known and expensive talent. Audiences were drawn because of the reputation Disney had established for providing quality, reliable, and predictable family entertainment. In the early 1950s, Disney was quick to recognize the growing medium of television to provide new outlets for Disney characters with “The Wonderful World of Disney” first airing in 1953 and “The Mickey Mouse Club” in 1955. Disney’s television productions both the long-running shows and features were quite successful. During the same time, Walt Disney

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