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  1. #1

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    Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by San Jose Mercury News
    Ross' vision for the types of movies that ultimately will define Disney is beginning to emerge. His main focus will be developing family-friendly movies under the Disney label. Iger's overarching strategy is to amass a stable of recognizable entertainment brands — Pixar Animation Studios and the pending acquisition of Marvel Entertainment — and exploit the films across its TV, theme parks, consumer products and game divisions.

    "It's brand over everything else," said Roth, who once ran Disney's studio. It's a strategy, he notes, that while designed to reduce risk is not without a downside. "What may get lost in the shuffle are non-branded original ideas that have no pre-awareness."
    source

    WARNING: Opinions ahead. You may disagree. I mean no offense. I certainly don't derive any pleasure from criticizing Disney, but I also see the benefit of approaching these issues with an honest and critical eye.

    Although this attitude is hardly a surprise or wholly without merit, I still find it disheartening to see it so plainly and openly stated by Disney through a reputable news source. Reduce risk it does, but taking risks is necessary for success of truly astronomical proportions. If not for some rather large risks Disney made in the past (e.g. Disneyland itself), the brand would be far weaker and MiceChat wouldn't exist. Naturally, once you've amassed a huge corporation with a clear status as an industry leader (and industry creator), the risk-taking has to decrease, since there's so much more at stake. But I can't help feeling rather sad that the execs are willing to so matter-of-factly explain their belief that the theme parks exist primarily as a lucrative vehicle for cross-promoting brands that they've bought out, even if that means cutting out the sorts of original ideas that constitute a significant chunk of Disney's existing successes in the theme park arena to this day.

    The road to hell is paved with quick bucks.

    Let the flaming begin. XD

    EDIT: Just for clarification, I'm very aware that there are plenty of people at Disney who do not think this way. Unfortunately, all it takes is a scattering of individuals in the right places.

    EDIT AGAIN: Whoops! Definitely misread those two key letters in the article - it's Roth, not Ross, who said it. Doesn't mean it's not true, though.
    Last edited by Datameister; 12-02-2009 at 07:05 PM.


  2. #2

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Ugh. That's really all that needs to be said and I'd imagine on MiceChat it's widely agreed upon.

  3. #3

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    I guess this is sort of a reflection of modern American industry. Safety and security above everything else.

    Too bad. If some serious risks weren't taken back in the '50s, DL would never have succeeded.

    To me, true leadership is not found in security alone, it's found in the balance between security and risk. Successful leaders always understand reasonable risk.

    Rob

  4. #4

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by micromind View Post
    To me, true leadership is not found in security alone, it's found in the balance between security and risk.
    Yep. Taking utterly ridiculous risks all the time isn't really a practical business strategy in the long term, but leveraging others' creative properties for an easy profit and nothing else is not the way to maintain cream-of-the-crop status.


  5. #5

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    The problem with this model is that technology is making it more and more possible for the little risk-taker with a vision and some techno-marketing savvy to sneak up and bite a chunk out of the big guys' market share. This kind of mindset could easily backfire over the long run.
    Current hat total: 100 of 100 - completed!

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    : Stroll through downtown Duckburg, making sure to tour Scrooge's Money Bin, then cross the Audubon Bay Bridge to St. Canard. Visit Liquidator's Splash Pool, and don't forget a stop by Bushroot Gardens!

  6. #6

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    I fully agree that it's disappointing. I find it even worse here because they are blatantly acknowledging the fact that it hurts them by ignoring original ideas.

    If they know that that's a bad thing and acknowledge it publicly, then why can't they get the friggen balls to just go out and do something original? Walt was all about doing new things that people said were impossible.

  7. #7

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    I'm NOT defending, but attempting to answer a question. They DO know it's a downside, but again and again they are rewarded for their non-risk taking ventures. It's the Starbucks model. We don't all go to starbucks because we think it's wonderful, we go there because we know what we are getting. The audience tends to be risk-averse, we often say, "Why does Hollywood keep making the same movies over and over???" Then we go to them. The answer is simple, they keep doing it because we keep "asking" them to make them.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Who put this guy in charge? He is everything that we hate.


  9. #9

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Here's a little primer for Mr. Ross. Disney's biggest movie franchise came from a ride. If said ride had already been slapped with cross-media "branding", it couldn't have developed as a brand of its own.

    The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise could have easily been killed before it was born. All it would have taken is some slick studio type saying, "Hey, why don't we tie it in with the live action version we did of Treasure Island? Let's throw in AA versions of Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton! Perfect opportunity to exploit one of our brands!"

    Would have made as much sense back then as that sort of thing does now. Treasure Island was a hit, as was its sequel Long John Silver. Disney was already doing theatrical re-releases. And it would have made the later, multi-billion POTC franchise impossible, as the ride's claim on the imagination would already have been harnessed.

    Walt Disney didn't do that. He also didn't saddle the Submarine Ride with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or the Matterhorn with Third Man On The Mountain (although the ride was directly inspired by his being on set during the shooting of that movie). In fact, after the original DL design--which needed to show it shared the Disney DNA--he authorized only a single ride based on a pre-existing property (Alice In Wonderland, which was thematically appropriate for the site).

    Why? Not because there wasn't money to be made by flogging old properties. But because there was more potential in going forward with fresh experiences, building a sense of what resonates with people on a visceral, experiential level.

    Mr. Disney understood branding and media franchises better than anyone. He also had more of them than anyone. That he chose to "exploit" so few for Disneyland was by design.

    The parks aren't a dumping ground, they're a seedbed.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    While I agree with Bob and Rich that we do need to exploit existing brands in the parks, I find it disheartening that we'll be doing that at the cost of creating truly original concepts for the parks not based on a pre-existing brand.

    Then again, for any original concept you might have for the parks, a movie or TV tie-in probably already exists, even if you're not thinking about it when you come up with the idea.

    The entire mentality of the company at this point is that the only creative ideas come from films and TV. Theme Parks are an outlet to showcase those ideas, not create them. And that is where the true mistake is.
    -Bill

  11. #11

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Once upon a time, Disney use to pull from history it's rich works and characters. Hardly a Disney work didn't pass that didn't send kids and parents alike scrambling for their history books. On Pirates of the Carribean, why did Blackbeard have ribbons in his beard? How close was Disney's Peter Pan to the original?

    Richly researched, socially responsible, progress inspiring works. Keep the best from the past and push forward. That was Disney.

    Of course public domain works and actual history can't be trademarked. When the little Mermaid came out, the store shelves were filled with duplicates. In the past, production costs kept knock off brands at bay, but not today. Today Disney is shying away from real material for trademarkable tripe, and I'm not sure oxymorons like Instant Classic(tm) is fooling anyone.

    There's something valuable about our real history, our real science, our real experiences, and the hard facts that made America. I just doubt we'll be seeing any more of them from Disney though, because Disney is too pathetic to take on potential competition by once again tackling real science, real history, and real classics.
    it's a sale of candy and a sale of plush, it's a sale of toys and disney stuff
    there's so much that we sell, that it's time we tell, it's a plush plush sale!

  12. #12

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by Lore View Post
    Once upon a time, Disney use to pull from history it's rich works and characters. Hardly a Disney work didn't pass that didn't send kids and parents alike scrambling for their history books. On Pirates of the Carribean, why did Blackbeard have ribbons in his beard? How close was Disney's Peter Pan to the original?

    Richly researched, socially responsible, progress inspiring works. Keep the best from the past and push forward. That was Disney.

    Of course public domain works and actual history can't be trademarked. When the little Mermaid came out, the store shelves were filled with duplicates. In the past, production costs kept knock off brands at bay, but not today. Today Disney is shying away from real material for trademarkable tripe, and I'm not sure oxymorons like Instant Classic(tm) is fooling anyone.

    There's something valuable about our real history, our real science, our real experiences, and the hard facts that made America. I just doubt we'll be seeing any more of them from Disney though, because Disney is too pathetic to take on potential competition by once again tackling real science, real history, and real classics.
    I enjoy this statement,and find it being very true!
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  13. #13

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    This is the exact opposite of what Disney really needs right now.

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    While I agree with Bob and Rich that we do need to exploit existing brands in the parks, I find it disheartening that we'll be doing that at the cost of creating truly original concepts for the parks not based on a pre-existing brand.

    Then again, for any original concept you might have for the parks, a movie or TV tie-in probably already exists, even if you're not thinking about it when you come up with the idea.

    The entire mentality of the company at this point is that the only creative ideas come from films and TV. Theme Parks are an outlet to showcase those ideas, not create them. And that is where the true mistake is.
    I also agreed
    I for one thinks that a movie may be good in a Theatres,
    does not mean it's make a good ride nor attraction!
    Soaring like an EAGLE !

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    Re: Disappointing comments from Rich Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate Lover 68 View Post
    I'm NOT defending, but attempting to answer a question. They DO know it's a downside, but again and again they are rewarded for their non-risk taking ventures. It's the Starbucks model. We don't all go to starbucks because we think it's wonderful, we go there because we know what we are getting. The audience tends to be risk-averse, we often say, "Why does Hollywood keep making the same movies over and over???" Then we go to them. The answer is simple, they keep doing it because we keep "asking" them to make them.
    True, true... -Food for thought.

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