Case Presentation Chart re:
The Walt Disney Company: The Entertainment King
HBS Case #2
The Walt Disney Company has truly been “the entertainment king” in the 83 years since its founding. This is largely due to the vision of Walt Disney, as well as the strategic management skills of Michael Eisner. The work of these two men, as well as countless others at The Walt Disney Company has created an innovative business model with universal appeal.
A History of Disney
The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was founded in California in 1923 by Walt and Roy Disney. The brothers had a contract to produce “Alice Comedy” films about a live girl in an animated world. Over the next ...view middle of the document...
EPCOT features pavilions representing eight countries. Disney expanded its international focus with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. Tokyo Disneyland was designed by the creators of Walt Disney World and features a similar look and many of the same attractions. A shift in the company occurred with the board of directors unanimous decision to elect Michael Eisner as chairman and chief executive officer and Frank Wells as president and chief operating officer in 1984. Roy Edward Disney, son of Roy Disney became head of the animation division.
The Reason for Disney’s Success
The Walt Disney Company’s success up until the selection of Michael Eisner was due to Disney’s ability to create unique characters with universal appeal and then truly bring those characters to life. In addition to Mickey Mouse, the company created such well-known characters as Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. The company’s family appeal has also had a large influence on its success. The theme parks and retail stores are based on the popularity of the original animations. In addition to the company’s success with consumers, its films have also received critical acclaim, winning six academy awards. Walt Disney’s vision still influences the company’s strategies, and causes it to continuously search out creative new ideas.
The Michael Eisner Years
The Walt Disney Company saw many changes under the command of Michael Eisner. Disney made a large entrance into the retail market in 1987 with the opening of the first Disney Store. In 1988, Disney-owned Touchstone Pictures released the first live-action and animated feature film. Who Framed Roger Rabbit cost over $80 million to create and market and received four of Disney’s six Academy Awards. Another addition to Walt Disney World, Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, opened in 1989 further increasing the pull of the Orlando Park. After this success and the overwhelming popularity of Tokyo Disneyland, The Walt Disney Company decided to open The Euro Disney Resort and Euro Disneyland in Marne-la Vallée, France.
In 1992, Beauty and the Beast became the first animated picture nominated for best picture, a major milestone in the animation industry. The death of CEO Frank Wells in 1994 created a void in the company, and Eisner took over many of Wells’ duties, distributing very few among other members of top management. In 1995, Disney purchased the ABC TV network for $19 billion, making it one of the largest players in the television and radio industry. In 1998, Disney further expanded its reach by launching its first cruise ship, the Disney Magic. A further expansion to Walt Disney World was the opening of Animal Kingdom, also in 1998.
Key Issues in the Case
The case covers four key issues other than the management of Michael Eisner. These issues are the revitalization of TV and movies, expanding into new businesses, regions, and audiences, maximizing theme park profitability, and coordination among...