The House of Mouse has its swagger back, mostly thanks to its CEO Bob Iger.
What follows will not be a analysis of Disney ($DIS) the stock, rather a look at why Disney is once again the coolest company in the media game. Whether or not it’s worthy of investment is up to you.
Movies: If there is a parent in America who doesn’t take their child to Toy Story 3 this summer, email me that parent’s contact info so I can alert Child Services. The Pixar acquisition was the best thing Disney has done in 20 years. Oh wait, they also bought Marvel, setting themselves up to capitalize on franchises like Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Avengers etc.
The studio also can mine their existing properties forever. There’s a Tron remake coming out shortly and one can only imagine how many Pirates of the Caribbean-like franchises the company can create. The Alice In Wonderland bet paid off to the tune of $675 million in worldwide gross and counting.
The Princess and the Frog, meant to be a triumphant return to hand-drawn animation, was DOA, but this is a very small negative in a sea of monster positives for the studio side.
Leadership: No longer the Cult of Michael Eisner, the company is run by the equally powerful but less ostentatious Bob Iger. Iger is the dealmaker behind the Pixar and Marvel deals. He takes risks – but in the name of profits, not prestige.
Iger shuffles his executive deck and steps on toes. There’s no complacency at this media giant.
Television: ESPN might be the best television property in the world, period. The sports are watched live, not recorded, so advertisers’ commercials get seen. The demographics are to die for (teenagers to men in their peak earning years).
ABC will need to replace Lost and a few other aging stalwarts, but that’s the network tv biz, no network stays on top or on the bottom for long. ABC notably held its ground in the fight against Cablevision recently, coming to terms just before the Oscars telecast.
The Disney Channel itself and related properties are rockin’.
Theme Parks: Expanding in China. A no-brainer and should be pursued full-throttle. Nuff said.
Disney has some notable weaknesses, but they are in areas where acquiring assets rather than creating them may make sense. This plays to the company’s strong suit – dealmaking.
For a more in-depth sense of Disney’s newfound swagger, I recommend the below New York Times article that focuses on Iger and his bold strokes around the world.