Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Mouse's Profits ... The Mouse's Losses

It's a time of yin and yang for Diz Co. On the one hand:

... Disney might have finally found the formula for reversing its losses in the video-game business. Infinity was the third-best selling title last month.

But the profits from that game aren't limited to software sales. Taking a page from Activision Blizzard's playbook, Infinity has a retail component that encourages lucrative toy sales along with the game.

On the other hand ...

... A petition in six languages with more than 5,000 signatures is demanding higher standards 9for Disneyland Paris], and was sent earlier this week to Bob Iger, head of Walt Disney Company, which owns close to 40 per cent of DP.

Belgian Guillaume Gallant started the petition after finding out on a recent visit that four shows had been cancelled, two rides were closed and food from an expensive restaurant was re-heated.

Although Disneyland Paris opened with much fanfare in the Spring of 1992, the park pales in comparison to its sister locations.

Over the past five years profits have plummeted with total net losses of over 272 million euros, even with over 16 million visitors last year.

Gallant says the park has eschewed quality for high visitor rates and reduced spending. ...

But Disney's Chief Financial Officer Jay Russolo prefers to accentuate the positive, like movie franchises and toys.

... During a presentation of the Mouse House’s assets at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, in Beverly Hills, Rasulo said “the market is extremely hot for everything ‘Star Wars.’”

He called the franchise an “evergreen property” that continues to mint money through licensing deals, and had the potential to become even more valuable with the right deals.

When asked if Disney was worried that today’s kids may not be familiar with the films, Rasulo touted the strong sales of toys — the brand continues to prove one of the top franchises in terms of licensing revenue each year. ...

“The sky’s the limit,” Rasulo said of the potential for the sci-fi franchise, including expanding its presence in the company’s theme parks. “There’s incredible flexibility. It’s an unbelievable palette to create from.”

Rasulo said Disney’s in-house licensing and consumer products group would devote the next year on brokering deals around the world to expand the reach of the “Star Wars” brand. ...

Sequelitis has become the corporate philosophy, wouldn't you say? Sequel amusement parks. Sequel movies.

Diz Co. is definitely not your grandfather's Disney. It's really become the Berkshire-Hathaway of entertainment conglomerates.


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