Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Disney CFO Speaks

Goldman Sachs held its Communicopia Conference today, and Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo held forth on what strategic moves the Mouse has been making lately, and why (transcript from Seeking Alpha):

... There are three key elements that make us [Disney] different. First is under Bob Iger’s leadership and incessant focus on franchises. And its really evolved over the last 5 to 8 years, five years more specifically when we made the Marvel acquisition, really anchored it. But everything we do is about brands and franchises and that wasn’t true 10 years ago. And 10 years ago we were more like other media companies, more broad based, big movie slate 20 something pictures, some franchise some not franchise. If you look at our slates strategy now, our television strategy, almost every aspect of the company we’re oriented around brands and franchises and I think we’re very unique in that regard.

Second piece, is that that’s not only on the creative side but every part of our outreach to consumers, every part of our eco-system is also focused around that same orientation. So if you look at our consumer products business Bob Chapek over the last five years has absolutely reoriented that business to be franchise focused and franchise run consistent with that overall strategy and thirdly I think the experience of the management team, their ability to work together to rally behind a core strategy for the company, the core brands and the franchises of the company is unique. Other companies have not figured out how to do that in our space and I think it really sets us apart from by the way as you said not only broad consumer discretionary companies but certainly everyone else in the media space. ...

As previously stated, Diz Co. has become the Berkshire Hathaway of entertainment conglomerates. Amusement parks, animated features, super hero and space opera franchises, monster amounts of merchandising, non-stop sports. You name it, the House of Mouse has got it.

And you can see that the company has morphed and changed multiple times, from a dinky spittle studio making cartoon shorts, to a bigger studio making cartoon features, to live-action and amusement parks.

Michael Eisner, Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg turned it into a major entertainment conglomerate, and Robert Iger has made it into a global powerhouse with multiple facets, divisions, and franchises, all contributing to the grown bottom line.

It's particularly amazing, when you consider what a weak sister the company was in the middle 1980s. And how it came close to disappearing in the early 1940s.


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