Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 4
I hope you enjoy this look into the business side of The Walt Disney Company. There are some stories I hadn't heard in here so be sure to check them all out before you click next.

Who isn't sure how Walt would have reacted to the minimum age restrictions in the parks...

Disney's Director of Veteran's Initiatives
Last year, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced a company-wide initiative to hire, train and support at least 1,000 U.S. veterans over a three-year period. The Heroes Work Here initiative has paved the way for veteran career expos around the country, special courses specifically designed for 150 Disney recruiters and 500 hiring managers so that they had a better understanding of military vernacular, and career-coaching sessions for hundreds of veterans during which they learned resume writing and interview skills. At the heart of the program is director of veteran initiatives for The Walt Disney Company – retired Army Colonel Kevin Preston. He has 27 years of military experience with an emphasis in human resources.

Bob Iger on CNBC
Video plus transcript.

Disney Shareholders Back Management
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) shareholders at the company's annual meeting defeated two proposals challenging aspects of its corporate governance practices, but only narrowly approved an advisory vote on executive compensation.

Of votes cast by proxy before the meeting in Phoenix, 57.6% favored the "say on pay." Last year's results were virtually the same, with 57% giving the nod to the company's compensation plan. The "say on pay" vote is advisory and nonbinding.

In its proxy statement sent to shareholders in January, Disney's board of directors said the results of last year's vote "fell below our expectations" and listed changes they had made in an effort to more directly tie executive compensation to performance and ensure it was appropriate in light of pay at other major media companies.

Two Roads Diverged In A Yellow Wood
I often give Netflix, Inc. a hard time, pointing to its easy to mimic business model and rapidly growing list of competitors, but it seems one of its better known threats is at a crossroads. According to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, rival Hulu’s future is being discussed by two of its three owners. The online site is owned by News Corp, The Walt Disney Company, and Comcast Corporation, but Comcast Corporation is not permitted to participate, as it forfeited its operational rights when acquiring NBC Universal.

Walt Disney Company Currently Not Developing Any Hand-Drawn Animated Features
The studio that helped pioneer 2D, hand drawn, theatrical animation is currently at a crossroads with the process. At Wednesday’s Walt Disney Company shareholder’s meeting, CEO Bob Iger revealed none of Disney’s animation companies, which includes Disney Animation, Pixar and Disney Toons, are currently developing, or have plans to develop, any 2D, hand drawn animation for the big screen. He’s not ruling it out, but the current slate - which probably stretches 3-4 years – has none of it.

The only place the company is currently continuing the tradition is on some of their animated television shows.

What Makes The Walt Disney Company So Darn Friendly?
The happiest place on earth is also the friendliest: the C-suite at The Walt Disney Company). Go ahead and Google (or Bing) "Disney partners with"... and there are over 19 million results for Bing and 217 million results for Google but let's not get into that. Just the top results include partnerships with Google, Netflix, Vera Bradley, Jakks Pacific, HGTV, New BalanceShoes, Sephora, McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch and literally hundreds more public and private companies.

And it's not just companies, as Disney partnered with the First Lady to make the Happiest Place on Earth a healthier place to eat. The US State Department has consulted with Disney for help in improving traffic at its consulates and bringing more tourism to the US. Disney's ESPN has also partnered with Brand USA to promote travel to the US in European markets.

Spotlight Stock: The Walt Disney Company
Let's take a look at how The Walt Disney Company's purchase of Lucasfilm has the potential to provide great returns to investors and one rising threat to Mickey's dominance.

Disney has performed well thus far in 2013, and at this time investors would have been better suited buying shares of Disney as opposed to a typical index fund. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute is currently up an impressive 9.87%, shares of Disney have risen 15.26% year to date. That kind of performance has also made Mickey the third best performing Dow component of 2013.

Disney's Focus On Media & Entertainment In India
Disney is focusing on India's media and entertainment, which is estimated to touch Rs.917 billion ($17 billion) in 2013, not only because the industry here is poised for a huge leap forward, but because of the rapidly rising middle-class of consumers and their traditional focus on the family, said Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the 14th edition of FICCI FRAMES 2013, the annual convention of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry here, Bird said the company has grown its other businesses over the past nine years - both organically and also through the acquisition of UTV last year.

"When we made the decision to buy UTV, we did it with two considerations in mind - the first was to create a diverse company in India and as importantly to acquire the talents of Ronnie Screwvala to run the new company," Bird said.

Bird said that in the transformation towards diversification, the company has not only changed how it looked at the company and its business, but also how it looked at the world.

Dishing Out Legal Victories
DISH Network Corp. has lost three out of four claims which it brought against The Walt Disney Company’s ESPN regarding the terms of a sports programming contract, as a panel of judges awarded Dish only $4.85 million of the $153 million it wanted. In 2009, the company sued ESPN for violating the nation clause in their distribution agreement, according to which it requires the ESPN to offer the company the similar terms it offers competitors.

Scaredy Mouse
The Walt Disney Company's ambitious new video game that takes a page from Activision Blizzard, Inc.'s blockbuster Skylanders franchise has been bumped from its original June release date. The House of Mouse expects Infinity to hit stores in late August instead.

Delay or not, the company has high hopes for the new game, calling it a "big swing factor " on the profitability of its interactive business this year. The Walt Disney Company interactive managed to contribute just $9 million to Disney's operating profit last quarter, by far the lowest of its five business segments. And the unit has been a consistent money loser for the entertainment giant, yanking $216 million, $308 million, and $234 million in profits from its books over the last three years.

Disney, Activision & A Galaxy Far Far Away
Star Wars fans weren’t the only ones over the Moons of Endor when The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in October, 2012. Investors, already well aware of Disney’s tremendous successes in previous acquisitions, such as Pixar and Marvel, were just as excited. (Yoda and Mickey probably weren’t too upset either.)

So far, things are off to a good start. One galactic coup for The Walt Disney Company was when Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, used a Jedi mind trick and recruited J. J. Abrams to be the director of Episode VII—the next installment in the Star Wars saga. If Abrams’s previous success in revitalizing the Star Trek franchise is any indicator of what he will do with Star Wars than there is a lot to be excited about.

Not to mention, the excitement of seeing the old crew. The rumors of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill reprising their roles in the next film seem to have been all but verified—another step in the right direction.

One area of concern though with The Walt Disney Company’s stewardship of the Star Wars universe is how successful they will be in reviving LucasArts-- the Lucasfilm division responsible for gaming. For some time, LucasArts was one of the leading studios in video game development. Recently, though, LucasArts has lost its edge.

Rated PG-14
Disney has announced new age restrictions for its parks. Unaccompanied minors under the age of 14 will now be banned from Disney parks and resorts as the company looks to improve children's safety. While the move could have a small impact on park revenue, it doesn't justify today's (March 19th) sell-off. On the other hand, The Walt Disney Company's stock has surged more than 30% over the past year, and a small dip is little to worry about for shareholders who have been rewarded handsomely.
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.