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Thread: Brand Focus

  1. #1

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    Brand Focus

    Well it looks like Iger has too been bitten by the Brand bug...

    He said he will be focusing on three brands: Disney, ESPN, and ABC.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Touchstone Pictures and Miramax pritty much fade away to obscurity... Much the way of MGM used to have a draw, and faded...

    Of course it means that Disney will not focus on firing on all cylanders... and I can't help but wonder if Iger is under estimating the Movie Studio...
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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by cellarhound
    He said he will be focusing on three brands: Disney, ESPN, and ABC.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Touchstone Pictures and Miramax pritty much fade away to obscurity...
    Here's an idea.

    Why not give Touchstone over to Tom Fitzgerald? That puts his film production talents to use, keeps his contract intact with WDC, and gets him outta WDI!

    Me likey!!


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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by cellarhound
    Well it looks like Iger has too been bitten by the Brand bug...

    He said he will be focusing on three brands: Disney, ESPN, and ABC.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Touchstone Pictures and Miramax pritty much fade away to obscurity... Much the way of MGM used to have a draw, and faded...

    Of course it means that Disney will not focus on firing on all cylanders... and I can't help but wonder if Iger is under estimating the Movie Studio...
    "Disney" means what? What I think it means -- family entertainment and family vacation destinations?
    Interesting how ABC and ESPN are separate brands, at times in competition with each other. Maybe the audience demographics are different enough.
    Last edited by sediment; 02-28-2006 at 04:30 PM.
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    Re: Brand Focus

    the reason touchstone was started was because people associated disney with "family" entertainment and they didn't want to go to "disney" movies because they thought they were for kids. now family entertainment has come back into vogue but I can't imagine an "r" rated disney movie so is iger giving up on the " older " audience? especially teens? I hope not. but then he will learn a hard lesson if he does. while i loved narnia and am looking forward to cars, there also was sky high and not so sure about the shaggy dog. and without miramax cutting edge movies won't be made.

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    Re: Brand Focus

    Cellary, do you have some link to whatever Iger said?
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    Re: Brand Focus

    http://www.micechat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20905

    This is the news story that I posted... sorry folks...
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    Re: Brand Focus

    I like his quality not quantity remark. I hope he really means it.

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    Re: Brand Focus

    Yeah, I guess I don't see why this is a bad thing. In another thread we're complaining about how the direct-to-video sequels dilute the Disney brand , but now we're complaining that Iger wants to focus on strengthening the Disney brand. So which way do we want it?

    They way I read the article, Iger isn't saying that they won't make ANY live action films, just that they are going to make less. And they won't feel obligated to churn out movies on a regular basis just because they are a movie studio. That's a good thing. Cellarhound, we've discussed previsouly how discouraging it is when Disney releases junk like "Annapolis". Aren't we better off if Disney decides to just not make those films and focus on quality?

    Iger's focus seems to be right where I want it to be. Creating quality Disney content and using the latest innovative technology to deliver that content to consumers.
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    Re: Brand Focus

    (Referring to animation below)
    It's possible that one reason why the classics are deemed so is that they took a lot of time to make. When someone (cough, Einser! cough) thinks a company can churn out two quality movies per year (and do note that many studios don't take as "personal" appraoach to moviemaking as Disney does, since Disney has a brand and image to protect) instead of one, then some quality has to be cut in order to get things done on time. You can see how much time goes into storymaking in the classics (as evident on the second disc of DVD releases). Years of development. That time line seems to have shrunk during the Eisner years in order to make more product. If some animators couldn't handle the timeline, they were let go. Others could, but they're not the genuises (and sometimes geniuses can't work to a schedule), and with less time for quality improvements, the product suffers.
    On the other hand, whatever product you put out to market is gone in less than a year. You get one theater viewing per person, and one DVD purchase per family, and the revenue stream is gone. So why pour heart and soul into it?

    I think this is a huge issue that Lasseter et al, need to fix.

    I think the same issues apply to family-style live-action films as well.
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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Doopey1
    Yeah, I guess I don't see why this is a bad thing. In another thread we're complaining about how the direct-to-video sequels dilute the Disney brand , but now we're complaining that Iger wants to focus on strengthening the Disney brand. So which way do we want it?
    I do not see my comments as being in anyway conflictatory on both matters... The question here is what is "Brand Identity"?

    Iger sees the company as having three main parts to it... Disney, ABC, and ESPN.

    HOWEVER when you look at the bottom line, (aka Last quarterly report), the studeo was getting hammered by bad returns... The answer profided by Iger is not to question existing management's decisions regarding product but rather to divest.

    I seem to be the only one who think this attitude is a problem - and will hurt Disney in the long run. So far, I am the only person who has been critical of Mr. Cook on this board. Although he has strengths in marketing films the right way, he lacks the capacity of being able to choose the right tallent to work with. I would say the choices he has made have been mostly bad since Eisner left.

    It would have been better if the Weinstiens where kept in the Disney fold and promoted rather than amputated...

    This divestment is bad for the Disney Company. Because the Studio is in fact a separate brand from Disney.

    They way I read the article, Iger isn't saying that they won't make ANY live action films, just that they are going to make less. And they won't feel obligated to churn out movies on a regular basis just because they are a movie studio. That's a good thing. Cellarhound, we've discussed previsouly how discouraging it is when Disney releases junk like "Annapolis". Aren't we better off if Disney decides to just not make those films and focus on quality?
    The divestment already started before "Annapolis," it was after Alamo, 80 Days, and Hildago bombed over two years ago... Iger said we need to divest, and they did... They cut Miramax, they cut touchstone... $500 million dollar short fall occured... Now Iger says they will divest more...

    It seems to me that the problem really is that Mr. Cook is sticking to his Singles and Double's mentality despite Iger's words regarding "Commitment to Quality" are being located in Animation and Parks and Resorts...

    Touchstone and Miramax deserve Quality too... So far I have not seen it, and the result is garbage returns in the Box office...

    Iger's focus seems to be right where I want it to be. Creating quality Disney content and using the latest innovative technology to deliver that content to consumers.
    Then separate Touchstone and Miramax as separate and unique brands... Either make the commitment to quality in these live action studios or conversely sell them off... Otherwise they are going to continue to be a lead weight on your balance sheet...

    Now I would rather they keep them and make that committment because it fully utilieses the Distribution center Disney has... But who says they can't be separate entities with a Buena Vista distribution contract?

    Like I said, Iger is looking at this from a ABC/Cap Cities background... He has no clue how to run a Movie Studio. He is trying... He has made some good decisions... But I want WDC to run on all cylanders, and when that happens we will see a higher stock price. But right now it is still stagnating weighed down by a Pink Ellephant in the room Iger doesn't like talking about...
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    Re: Brand Focus

    I think you need to re-evaluate the Weinsteins and how they operated Miramax over the last few years. It was their own little empire, they were given huge budgets with very little accountability for what they did with the money. And they gradually shifted away from buying and producing little independents to co-producing huge epics, which was never supposed to be their role. And they always disdained their association with the rest of Disney. They were a bad fit for Disney, and I'm glad they are gone. I even wish that they had been allowed to take Miramax with them, quite frankly.

    That said, Disney is not abandoning Miramax. It IS a separate and unique brand, which is one of the reasons Disney insisted on keeping it (I think egos played into it too!). There is a great article in the LA Times that profiles the new studio head and the future of the company. Disney would not be fostering this type of puff piece in a major paper if they were wanting to shoo Miramax into the corner. But it will be a different company. It won't be the Weinsteins hoarding dozens of films you've never heard of and letting them sit on a shelf for years until they decide to release them. It will be a much more targeted and deliberate and modest indie branch, which is as it should be.

    Let's wait and see what kind of release slate Miramax and Touchstone put out for 07 and 08. I honestly think the studio output will get better, not worse (but perhaps smaller in quantity), over the next few years.

    And regarding Cook being content with singles and doubles, I guarantee you that Disney does not intend for POTC2 to be a single or a double.
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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Doopey1
    I think you need to re-evaluate the Weinsteins and how they operated Miramax over the last few years. It was their own little empire, they were given huge budgets with very little accountability for what they did with the money. And they gradually shifted away from buying and producing little independents to co-producing huge epics, which was never supposed to be their role. And they always disdained their association with the rest of Disney. They were a bad fit for Disney, and I'm glad they are gone. I even wish that they had been allowed to take Miramax with them, quite frankly.
    Wait a sec... Is that really the case? I mean really? The Weinsteins practically handed LOTR to Disney on a silver platter... Among other very successful films... If it wasn't for LOTR there would be no Narnia... Eisner had a spotty record at picking box office winners without Katzenberg...

    Cook is not Katz... Cook is not the Weinsteins... Cook is a good guy, but he can't pick winners on his own... Mark my words when Apocolypto comes around and we, the shareholders are feeling the big hurt in the Q3.

    I am not buying this argument...

    That said, Disney is not abandoning Miramax. It IS a separate and unique brand, which is one of the reasons Disney insisted on keeping it (I think egos played into it too!). There is a great article in the LA Times that profiles the new studio head and the future of the company. Disney would not be fostering this type of puff piece in a major paper if they were wanting to shoo Miramax into the corner. But it will be a different company. It won't be the Weinsteins hoarding dozens of films you've never heard of and letting them sit on a shelf for years until they decide to release them. It will be a much more targeted and deliberate and modest indie branch, which is as it should be.
    Along with Lions Gate, Weinstein Company, New Line, Sony International who actually have found more flexablity and have taken the talent of Miramax and exploited it for themselves by willing to hand independant filmmakers more money than under the Miramax business model... Essencially the Miramax business model needed much more flexabilty in marketing independant movies... Essencially Iger has shackeled the unit, something that I personally disagree with... It is going to kill the studio... Watch...

    Let's wait and see what kind of release slate Miramax and Touchstone put out for 07 and 08. I honestly think the studio output will get better, not worse (but perhaps smaller in quantity), over the next few years.
    I don't think you can get smaller in quantity at Touchstone... They produce now 4-5 films a year and most of them will not make even a post script on a film reviewer's note book.

    And regarding Cook being content with singles and doubles, I guarantee you that Disney does not intend for POTC2 to be a single or a double.
    Yeah, hopefully they will release it right next to Apocolypto... A film I have no faith in, with a name that will likely be more discriptive of it's box office return...
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    Re: Brand Focus

    My understanding is that Disney's financial exposure on Apocalypto is modest. I think Gibson's Icon Productions is picking up most of the costs. Thus, if it flops it's not going to hurt that bad.

    If POTC2 were to flop, on the other hand, it would be a disaster.

    Point well taken on the Weinsteins and LOTR, but even they weren't going to do it right. They wanted to cram it into two films, instead of three. Harvey Weinstein is notorious for that kind of creative meddling (the same kind of meddling from executives that we deplore in WDFA). They wrestled with Gilliam throughout the production of "Brother's Grimm" and they famously argued with Scorsese, of all people, on the final cut of "Gangs of New York". They butchered Billy Bob Thorton's "All the Pretty Horses". Wes Craven blames them for the mess that is "Cursed". There are a gazillion stories of this nature, and oddly the movies never seem any better for their meddling. Harvey Weinstein's egomania is matched only by Eisner's, in my opinion. They seem to be cut from the same cloth.

    There was a great New York piece a few weeks back was actually a pro-Weinstein piece, but it still detailed what a disaster their last days at Miramax was. Ironically, their new approach with The Weinstein Co. is exactly what Disney wanted them to be doing with Miramax. This bit especially illuminates how bad they were for Disney:

    The Weinsteins were chewing nails because in 2003, Disney tried to reverse out of an outmoded budget-and-bonus structure for the brothers that was making it no money. In eleven years at Disney, Harvey and Bob received as much as $250 million in bonuses; some years, they were the company’s highest-paid executives after Eisner himself. Bonuses also drove the brothers to a bit of foxy legerdemain. Last November, Disney was obliged to announce a $313 million fourth-quarter write-down traced mainly to nine Miramax films the brothers had shelved so, as some speculated, they wouldn’t count against their bonuses, bombs that as part of their settlement were finally dropped in the theaters.
    The full article is here:
    http://newyorkmetro.com/news/features/15591/index.html

    Another good, but older, article is here:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200410110033

    Under the Weinsteins, Miramax abandoned its own business model. They went from scouting out and acquiring quality, unknown independents films, they shifted into co-producing big-budget epics that were not always successful. They were not "hand-cuffed" by Eisner, they were given a $700 million budget, which is gi-normous.

    Again, I'm glad they are gone.

    But the broader point that Iger is making in his statement, I think, is that Miramax and Touchstone are not core brands. They each have a place in the company, they have brands/identities of their own, but they are not the core of the company, and they are not the core of the studio. Now I understand that some people don't think ABC or ESPN should be core brands either, but I think I've made this post long enough!
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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Doopey1
    Now I understand that some people don't think ABC or ESPN should be core brands either, but I think I've made this post long enough!
    Correct.
    They might be a cheap place to advertise films and theme parks (the Super Bowl's available ad space was filled by these), but if the audience is not inclined to go there in the first place, then it's not an effective place to advertise films and theme parks.
    They're in a world of their own, and it's probably best not to sprinkle any "Disney Magic," -- i.e., throw the Disney brand onto an expletive-laden football game, for example -- onto them.
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    Re: Brand Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    Correct.
    They're in a world of their own, and it's probably best not to sprinkle any "Disney Magic," -- i.e., throw the Disney brand onto an expletive-laden football game, for example -- onto them.
    A fine point, perhaps, but I've been watching football and other sports on ESPN for many years, and I've yet to have heard an "expletive-laden" broadcast. If there are expletives, they're certainly not supposed to get on the air.
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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