Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by manning, Sep 12, 2003.
Rumor has it that GE is buying the company that owns Universal Studio. Is this true?
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well, it isn't so much a "rumor" as news - if you look on this board you will find threads about this. GE isn't buying Vivendi - vivendi has been trying to unload some of its US holdings - the Universal movie studio, cable channels, and theme parks (I think Vivendi doesn't want to sell the US music portion). There were four or five potential buyers, I think that GE/NBC is the only one left - GE is the parent company of NBC, and they want the cable holdings to expand their portfolio. It seems like the deal may well go through. Did this have anything to do with the sponsership of illuminations? Probably not as much as reducing marketing budgets in a time of slowing economy, imho.
Thanks for the info. I haven't been on the site for awhile and didn't get to the other site yet.
GE ended its' sponsorship years ago. They sponsored "Illuminations" when it was first launched and sponsored Horizons.
At the end of Horizons their used to be a swirl of fiber optics stating "If we can dream it, we can do it" which swirled into the GE logo. There was also a rotating GE logo that appeared as a hologram as you exited the ride.
The relationship had been troubled for a long, long time. Remember that General Electric already owned NBC when Disney went out and bought a direct competitor, ABC*. There are "rumors" that a tiff developed over the required refreshment of 'Horizons'.
There's also the whole background story of corporate sponsorships at the theme parks to begin with. Original, they were simply advertising vehicles for the companies they got their sign on a building and the association with the strong Disney brand. Companies used to clamor for the chance and even did things that were considered unthinkable remember when both Coke and Pepsi had places in the parks. Try to think of any other place on the planet that let you buy both**.
But things change. The value of being associated with Disney has declined and the prices keep going up and up and up. To keep the sponsorship money flowing, Disney began to make the sponsorships more "business deals" than "advertising". The reason we all suffer with Nescafe coffee on property is because part of the sponsorship deal for 'The Land' requires that Disney-owned properties buy Nestle brand products exclusively. It's why Exxon gas stations are spouting up all over property. Why soon every computer will be sporting an HP sticker.
The most interesting example is McDonalds. In exchange for the continuing relationship and funding the Dinoland area of Animal Kingdom, McDonalds was basically given a free hand in the parks. Full fledged McDonalds with their menu opened inside both AK and California Adventure; fry carts/stands opened everyplace else. The companies understand the advertising isn't worth it anymore. They're goal is to lock in a major corporate customer. The public aspect of things (like rides) is an afterthought.
That's why major companies that don't need Disney as a large customer are bailing. There' s not a lot of items that United Technologies can hope to sell Disney so they left. And there aren't a lot of power plants or jet engines that GE could sell either so they bailed as well. The public exposure of being a sponsor at WDW isn't worth Disney's asking price and they Disney isn't a big enough customer to warrant any special attention***.
* - okay, history has shown that ABC really isn't any competition for NBC, but most people assumed Disney wasn't going to run their network into the cellar the way they did.
** - the deal became exclusive as part of Coke's sponsorship arrangement for 'The American Advenure' when EPCOT Center opened.
*** - I should make the joke that Disney isn't much of a customer for light bulbs now either. But that would be too obvious.
If GE does purchase the piece of the pie that includes Universal Theme Parks, it may not bode well....there are many examples of where diversification into areas so far away from the basic product has brought organizations to their knees. And with the shakey financial and economic conditions within US tourism since 9/11, Universal may well find itself bowing to execs that don't have a clue as to how to run it successfully.
Guess we'll have to wait and see.
generally i would agree but GE has there hand in so many unrelated things already so it wouldnt concenr me too much.
NBC and its other networks, light bulbs, medical devices, rca consumer electronics, ge capital credit, jet engines, power plants etc, etc
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