Article from The Street - June 8, 2005
Disney Shows Patience of Job(s)
Disney (DIS:NYSE - commentary - research) investors are hoping Bob Iger won't have to hit the brakes anytime soon.
The exec, who is due to take the helm from outgoing chief Michael Eisner Oct. 1, has had a busy spring. In the 86 days since his nomination to the top spot was made public, Disney has reached a resolution with the Weinstein brothers over the fate of Miramax, signed an eight-year deal with the NFL for Monday Night Football rights, enjoyed an S&P upgrade and posted strong television upfront-ad sales.
But for all that, Wall Street continues to focus on the hope that Iger will be able to put his diplomatic skills to good use in talks with red-hot animation partner Pixar (PIXR:Nasdaq - commentary - research).Iger says new technology could allow Disney to extend its reach, get closer to customers, increase the life span of content and make its product better. He noted that a significant shift has taken place in terms of the power dynamic between media companies and customers, with the latter now holding the upper hand, "as the record industry found out." Iger is excited about the possibilities of taking dot-com sites like ESPN and ABC News and factoring in rich media, increased broadband and the possibilities for video-on-demand and portable devices.Disney is investing internationally, still launching new efforts in India and Vietnam, though Iger questioned the viability of launching a channel in China, given the tough regulatory environment.
The diplomacy role there will fall to Disney's new Hong Kong-based theme park, which Iger likened to Disney World's place in America during the 1950s in terms of building awareness of the Disney brand in China.