Accounting Research Project: Walt Disney

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| 2012|
| Acc: Research Project
|

[The Walt Disney Company]|
Ticker Symbol: NYSE:DIS A brief summary of the company’s products, history, and financial operations over the last year.|

General Overview
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is one that I have been familiar with my entire life. However, I have never known much about the business side of the company. It was founded in 1923 by Roy and Walt Disney, who came to Hollywood from Kansas City, Missouri. Walt and Roy produced a short animated film series that became known as the Alice Comedies. The small studio in which they worked was outgrown and replaced by a larger facility, where they became Disney Bros. Studio (Disney Archives). In 1928, Mickey Mouse was born, followed by Pluto, Goofy, and the rest of the Disney gang, and the Disney Brothers Studio became the Walt Disney Studio. Disney’s first full-length animated film came out in 1937. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the highest grossing film by 1939 and the first animated feature film ever produced (studioservices.go.com).

During World War II, production was slow, and Disney was contracted into creating propaganda films to endorse the war and boost morale on the home front. However, in 1950, Cinderella revived the company and the Walt Disney Productions theme park plan was set in motion, opening Disneyland in 1955. Walt Disney died in 1966 of lung cancer (age 66), and his brother Roy took over as chairman, CEO and president. The Walt Disney World Resort opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971, and Disney began to make its way into live-action films. Since then, the Walt Disney Company has made its name in the family and entertainment business, becoming one of the largest and most influential companies worldwide, owning markets in China, Japan, North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and Russia. The company headquarters is located in Burbank, California, headed by Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who took over the company in 2005 and acquired other such productions as Pixar (2006), Marvel Entertainment (2009), and Lucasfilm (2012) (thewaltdisneycompany.com).

As well as owning several media networks, hotels and resorts, Disney Consumer Products, according to the company’s website, is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company and its affiliates that extends the Disney brand to merchandise ranging from apparel, toys, home décor and books and magazines to foods and beverages, stationary, electronics and fine art. This is accomplished through a franchise-based licensing organization focused on strategic brand priorities, including: Disney Classic Characters & Disney Baby; Disney Live Action Film; Disney Media Networks & Games, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios; Disney Princess & Disney Fairies; and Marvel. Other businesses involved in Disney's consumer products sales are Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world's largest publisher of children's books and magazines, and www.DisneyStore.com and www.DisneyStore.co.uk, the company's official shopping portals. The Disney Store retail chain, which debuted in 1987, is owned and operated by Disney in North America, Europe, and Japan (thewaltdisneycompany.com). In recent news, Netflix announced on December 4, 2012 that it has signed a multi-year deal with The Walt Disney Company. According to the article by Ramon Aranda, this will give Netflix the exclusive rights to run feature films available for users to watch instantly. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix said, “Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest-quality, most imaginative family films being made today… It’s a bold leap forward for Internet...
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