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Euphscott
03-07-2003, 12:14 PM
The consensus around here is that what drags the Disney Empire down these days is ABC and the lackluster movie performance over the last few years.

Other than firing Eisner (and I know some will insist this IS the answer - but beware, the successor may be Paul Pressler!), how does Disney realistically go about righting the ship?

I am one that believes the current entertainment is lacking in the qualities most often associated with Disney of old: great stories, family appeal, an uplifting "feel" and so on.

Sure, hiring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts for all your movies is a nearly sure fire way to sell tickets. And all Michael Jackson, Super Bowl, and Academy Awards shows all the time will boost TV ratings. But we know that's not going to happen given the economic climate and leadership in place (although ABC seems to be all about gimmicks these days).

How does Disney turn this around?

HB2K
03-07-2003, 01:24 PM
Hire people who's specality is running TV & movies. Let these people run the businesses as their own....

meowthew2
03-07-2003, 01:36 PM
>>(and I know some will insist this IS the answer - but beware, the successor may be Paul Pressler!)<<

Huh? He was booted. I don't see him returning to Disney in any capacity.

Walt's Frozen Head
03-07-2003, 02:12 PM
How does Disney turn this around?
Invest in their creative infrastructure. Instead of trashing the Secret Lab after Dinosaur was a box office failure (yet a tremendous technical success), the Company could have built on the already solid technical/creative resources they had, and improved the pieces that led to failure. Instead, they Soprano-d the whole operation, right at the base of the skull (leaving Disney now largely out of the CGI picture-creation picture).

Over the years, Disney has largely given away its heritage and its heart. Feature Animation barely breathes, and Imagineering recognizable to anyone who learned what the term meant before 1984 (why, the reason I pick that date is to commemorate my new Mac... it only arrived this morning, but you definitely get an immediate feel for that original Super Bowl commercial...) is long dead.

It is my belief that Disney, the corporation killed Disney, the creator.

The reasons to $#!+can The Secret Lab were focused purely on short-term cash-flow; long-term creativity (and, ultimately, viability as a creative entity) was either considered expendable or not considered at all.

Eisner has driven away all of the most successfully creative people he has ever worked with, save those that Fate called away, on her own. Not many successfully creative people are known to be in any huge rush to work with Disney, anymore.

To really fix this, there has to be a change in philosophy up and down Disney's heirarchy... make the creativity important, again. Eisner's going to have to go, for that to happen. Then, as HB2K points out, go find people who know how to create good stuff, and let them create good stuff. Eisner's going to have to go, for that to happen, too.

To be honest, I don't think Disney will ever be turned around on this particular axis. If we ocasionally get something with real heart from caring creators (perhaps on their way out Disney's door), set off the roman candles. If we want to look for "Magic" in Disney's future, I'm afraid we're going to have to look at it in terms of "bought the bus with the documented best emissions to seating ratio in the industry;" or "reduced food cost ratio on chicken fingers;" a distinctly Puchasing and Accounting sort of Magic.

-WFH

PS: It's not completely out of the question that Disney might buy some product from a genuinely creative source, it just appears more and more unlikely as time goes by.

Peter_noPan
03-08-2003, 09:46 PM
Disney is too big.

There is no synergy that I can see. Shareholders would do better owning several companies rather than one ran by an individual that doesn't understand all.

This is a very cyclial thing. Now the cycle should be to spin off.

Shareholder value has not increased in years. Time to do something.

Euphscott
03-09-2003, 01:40 PM
Interesting responses - and generally what I figured most would say.

I am looking for the response though that solves this problem with Eisner in place. Can it be done? :)

KNWVIKING
03-09-2003, 03:45 PM
I don't think ABC has the monopoly on a lack of creativity. CBS tries to spin its highly rated CSI with a CSI Miami. NBC's new reality show- Date My Mom - almost makes Get me Outa Here worthy of an Oscar. Tv has gotten too diluted with channels and todays audience would rather see shocking visuals rather then hear clever writing.

DVC-Landbaron
03-09-2003, 04:12 PM
The consensus around here is that what drags the Disney Empire down these days is ABC and the lackluster movie performance over the last few years. No. Not really. They are only the outward symptoms of an ailing business philosophy. And this is coupled with a misunderstanding of their core business. Disney can only become great again by innovation and creativity, throughout all their venues. They will sink deeper if they continue on the path they are on now. That is one of distributor for others innovation and creativity. Whether we are taking about Pixar or off-the-shelf carnival rides, Disney will NOT turn around until it realizes that its primary function is in the ‘story’ NOT the distribution of that story.

Other than firing Eisner (and I know some will insist this IS the answer - but beware, the successor may be Paul Pressler!), how does Disney realistically go about righting the ship?Well, I’m afraid this is a tough one. You see, he is the one that believes magic (innovation, creativity, call it what you like) is a commodity that can be sold piecemeal style. Without him leaving there is no ‘turn-around’. As far as some one else, well… You could be right. But I contend we’d be no worse off at all. In other words it can’t get any worse than Ei$ner!! He’s the guy that changed the philosophy!!

I am one that believes the current entertainment is lacking in the qualities most often associated with Disney of old: great stories, family appeal, an uplifting "feel" and so on. I agree!! And it’s his to change if he wants to. “Quality will out!!” One of the shortest, yet most profound of Walt’s quotes!!!

Sure, hiring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts for all your movies is a nearly sure fire way to sell tickets. It’s not about ‘selling tickets’. It’s about producing creative, imaginative, quality entertainment. It’s about standards!! If you do that the ‘selling tickets’ takes care of itself!! Something Walt instinctively knew. And something Ei$ner has yet to discover.
But we know that's not going to happen given the economic climate and leadership in place (although ABC seems to be all about gimmicks these days).You just stated, in rather everyday terms, Ei$ner’s philosophy. “Gimmicks”. How sad. You can also add to that marketing, cost-effective, market segment, market surveys, disposable income, value engineering and a host of other ‘business’ terms that sometimes earn a company a quick buck. But nowhere in his philosophy will you find the word ‘quality’. And that’s what moves a company out of the ‘quick-buck’ mentality and into long term customer loyalty!! Again, something Walt knew instinctively. And something that is totally alien to Ei$ner’s thinking!!

How does Disney turn this around?Dump Ei$ner! It’s the only way!!

manning
03-09-2003, 10:07 PM
Other than firing Eisner (and I know some will insist this IS the answer - but beware, the successor may be Paul Pressler!), how does Disney realistically go about righting the ship?


Sounds like you are afraid to make a change for fear it may be for the worst.

Let's see, the ship is in the middle of nowhere with a big hole in the bottom (eisner). Water is gushing in with a great danger of sinking.

One groups says "we have to do something to fix that leak and maybe save the ship"

The other says "don't do anything to that leak because we may not be able to fix it or will cause get bigger. Let's wait to see if it will fix itself.

In the mean time, which way is the ship heading? Down.

I'm inclined to want Eisner to go and bring someone in who may be able to right the ship. As is, things are getting worse.

HauntedMansionFan
03-09-2003, 11:06 PM
More "Alias" and less reality TV crap!!!

Bob O
03-09-2003, 11:17 PM
With Eisner still at the helm there are no changes that will work. He runs the company as a dictator with a handpicked board that grovels at his feet. So with einser unwilling to hire somebody and give him the authority to run tv or the movie parts of the company with einser getting involved it is hopeless because he will meddle with everything. This is why Pixar and Miramax are successful and abc/wdfa havent been.

Euphscott
03-10-2003, 12:47 PM
I am not afraid of dumping Eisner!
I just fear what sort of replacement we might get. It could be worse or status quo. Especially considering how aloof the board seems these days.

Baron, I agree with your take on quality. It's clearly missing. Although there is still just enough left over in the parks to keep me (and others) coming back. Maybe it's good old days syndrome that is killing us. And in a perverse way, supporting the company we love just reinforces the bad habits.

Sadly my favorite piece of the Disney empire that GETS it is one that is a little too far out of reach for the general public. The Disney Cruise Line is a spectacular display of what the company used to be and should be. Walt however woudl be diasppointed to see that in order to get a great family experience, you have to pay so much.

Whomever made the point about Alias I do agree. That is one show that gets it. However, the ratings don't seem to bear that out - and that is unfortunate.

KNWVIKING
03-10-2003, 12:58 PM
I've posted before that I believe a big problem with TV and quality is that basically the masses don't want clever writing or complicated,meaningfull plots. They want sophmoric, low brow, gutteral humor-and cleavage. Alias is a perfect example of this. I read recently that ABC was going to basically "dumb down' the story lines for Alias because they felt they were to complicated for the average viewer. In some respects I think Disney/ABC etc is in a catch22 where quality is good for the Brand but cheap is good for the bottom line. That's still no excuse for the idiotic rash of reality shows but it has to frustrating to the exec's, (at least hopefully it is) that this is what the public wants.

hopemax
03-10-2003, 01:18 PM
Whomever made the point about Alias I do agree. That is one show that gets it. However, the ratings don't seem to bear that out - and that is unfortunate.

Actually, I think Alias' ratings are just fine. Don't forget that Alias is a genre show, and genre shows never reach the same ratings heights as family sitcoms or cop shows. Alias will probably never be a Top 20 show and that's fine, IF the network has developed over shows that can climb to Top 20 status.

At this point of the year in Season 1, Alias was averaging 3.0-3.5 in the overnights. This year it's 6.5-7.0's. It's finding an audience. Actually, if you compare the number of viewers watching Alias right now (about 10 million), it's very similar to the number of people who were watching the X-Files in it's 2nd season (9.7 million).

wdw4us2
03-10-2003, 10:17 PM
I'm beginning to think they should go back and watch "The Barefoot Executive" to determine who should be picking their new programming.

They couldn't do much worse than they are now. In the Top 30 programs two weeks ago (during sweeps) ABC did not have a single show. How pathetic is that!