Thursday, July 17, 2014

Biggest Company in 2114

Seeking Alpha, a fine business/investing website, has this:

... My bold prediction: In 2114, the largest company in the US, or anywhere else on the planet for that matter, will be the Walt Disney Company (DIS). You scoff. Disney - a cartoon company? Really? So why will Walt Disney be the one that not only survives the next 100 years but also thrives? Because, to simplify it to its investing essence, and in the ironic words of Bill Gates: 'Content Is King.'

If you have been to Disney World in Florida recently, and especially if you have not, you may be amazed to discover that a silly cartoon character created in 1928 by the name Mickey Mouse is doing pretty well for himself. What's more amazing is that Mickey does not appear to have aged at all in his 80+ years, and still draws big crowds.

More importantly, Disney has been able to create worlds where characters like Mickey blend seamlessly with Disney's latest and greatest 'Elsa and Anna' characters from "Frozen," plus scores of other notables including Snow White and Cinderella. Disney has the unique ability to generate new content that has a nearly infinite shelf life. There have been a few duds, and not everything Disney touches turns to gold, although it's difficult to come up with anything recently that has not. Every one of Disney's business lines, including especially ESPN, has compelling growth projections, and Disney's content knows virtually no borders. Every company goes through ups and downs, and none is immune to the vicissitudes of life, but Disney by almost any measure is an unstoppable machine. ...

Doing a hundred-year prediction is a fool's errand.

It's a long time ago, but I remember when Disney was teetering on the edge of catastrophe. The company had just launched a cheapie cable channel that was gasping for air. It's live-action comedies were industry punch-lines (and not in a positive way). And corporate raiders were keen on tearing WDP apart because it was (at that point) a big real estate holding company with a movie studio and minor t.v. assets. They figured it was worth more in large, separate chunks than as a single corporation. (And they might have been right.)

Thirty years on, Diz Co. is the Berkshire Hathaway of entertainment conglomerates. But it doesn't take a huge imagination to project some of Disney's core businesses going awry. A century is a long time, and my crystal ball is cloudy.


Mark Mayerson said...

My prediction is that if Rupert Murdoch can figure out a way to live another hundred years, he'll own it all.

Site Meter