Oligopoly and the Disney Company.

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1. INTRODUCTION Oligopolies have been around ever since there is trade. However, it has only recently gained grounds in this age of globalisation. Never before has oligopolistic competition been so fiercely contested across so many industries. The media industry in the United States of America (US) is one such industry. As a powerful communication tool, the media has attracted many companies but only a handful has grown big. These media giants have dominated the local market and are currently seeking to conquer the global media industry in search of better profits. One of these media giants is the Walt Disney Company (Disney). Its dramatic growth from a small company to become an oligopolist in the media industry offers an interesting…show more content…
Figure 3 shows that together they dominated 75% market share of the US media industry in 2003 and reach 80% of the prime-time TV audience through their combined broadcast and cable outlets (Hannaford 2004; Peers 2003). (source: Hannaford 2004) Figure 3: The media conglomerates market share Of the five, Disney is perhaps the most famous because generations of children have grown up with its cartoon characters. 3. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY (DISNEY) Walt Disney started out by producing short animated films in 1922 and in 1928 introduced Mickey Mouse, the world most famous cartoon character shown in Figure 4 below (Olsson 1996; Kramer 2002). Following this breakthrough, Kramer (2002) found that Disney proceeded innovatively with new film technologies of sound and colour that resulted in the first successful animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. (source: Disney.com 2004) Figure 4: Mickey Mouse There was no turning back after that. Disney went on to become a major international corporate giant in the US media industry and a model for other media companies. After acquiring the ABC television network in 1995, Disney finally became a fully diversified media corporation and was the most recognisable brand in the entertainment world (Kramer 2002). Today, Disney furnishes our TV programs, movies, videos,

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