The Walt Disney Company
Strategic Management – 3:30pm
September 20, 2011
Overview, Mission & Objectives
Founded on October 16, 1923, The Walt Disney Company, or “the Company”, is one of the world’s leading media conglomerates. Headquartered in Burbank, California, the Company continues striving to produce unparalleled entertainment experiences based on the legacy of quality creative content and exceptional storytelling. Started by one man, Walt Disney, as a cartoon studio, this 88 year old company is now a global powerhouse controlling some of the most venerable brands in the entertainment industry (The Walt Disney Corporation).
While operating across various consumer and media ...view middle of the document...
Originally founded as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, the company reincorporated as Walt Disney Productions, Ltd. in 1929, and was first publically traded as Walt Disney Productions in 1938. The current name, The Walt Disney Company was finally adopted in 1986. During the 1950’s, the company expanded beyond cartoon studio production and into television, entering into a partnership with ABC, who would later assist in the development and financing of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California in 1955. After continued success in both television shorts and feature-length films, founder Walt Disney died in 1966 leaving his brother, Roy Disney, to succeed him as chairman, CEO, and president of the company. A second theme park, Walt Disney World, opened to the public in 1971, and in the same year, Roy Disney died of a stroke, leaving the company headed by a family outsider for the first time. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the company began expanding through joint ventures with companies such as Paramount Pictures, and diversifying through subsidiaries such as Touchtone Pictures and its own television channel, The Disney Channel.
Despite these successes, Disney was still financially vulnerable in the early 1980’s due to stagnant growth and few new successes, as most of its growth was still fueled by its old, original staples (television shows and the two theme parks). In 1984, Disney fought off a hostile takeover bid (which would have led to an asset sell-off) by Saul Steinberg with help from its partners at Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers. In 1984, Disney brought in Warner Brothers executive Frank Wells to run the company during the financial strife, and the company was able to revitalize itself in the following decades via a slew of blockbuster movie releases and increased success with its television channels. The company also acquired additional media sources, including a merger with Capital Cities in 1996, bringing the ABC broadcast network and ESPN to Disney. The Company also opened up similar theme parks in additional locations such as Paris and Hollywood.
After unclear vision from Disney’s board members and an ousting of long-time company leader Michael Eisner, Disney sought a rebirth to “Save Disney” and hired longtime Eisner assistant, Robert Iger in 2005. Iger saved the company significant losses by closing its failing studios in Australia in 2005, and purchased long-time partner Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion. Disney also acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and recently broke ground for a Resort in Shanghai. Disney’s upper management has stated that they envision a strategic movement away from its past fairytale history and increased focus on the new-age successes of its Pixar and Marvel purchases by acquiring businesses that are capable of producing great characters and stories for a new market.
Organizational Structure, Products & Markets
Disney divides its operations into five main...