Development of Media Conglomerates by the Example of the Walt Disney Corporation

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 173
  • Published : March 11, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Development of Media Conglomerates by the example of the Walt Disney Corporation Within the last century the media industry in the United States was subject to a major change. Starting in the 1940ies, mainly evoked by the development of the television, the industry changed from the so called studio era1 to the television broadcasting era2. Through the development of television sets it became a lot cheaper for the Americans to watch television at home, than going out to a movie theater or auto theatre. Nevertheless there was still demand for movies, but competition had developed. Blockbusters were competing against the television program. Starting in the 1970ies cable, satellite, and video services became available. Additionally HBO revolutionized the television industry with the development of the first pay TV box. By 1989 Video players were already possessed by almost two thirds of the American households.3 All these changes in the industry caused a further development of the companies, which participated in the market. They changed from small companies to huge businesses with the possession of several media channels, including TV stations, magazines, newspapers, radio stations etc. These companies are called Media Conglomerates. In the following paper, the focus will be on the development of the Walt Disney Company. The development from a small company in the first half of the last century, which struggled in the market, to one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world in most recent times shall be depict as an example for the overall change in the industry. The first part of the paper is about an in-depth explanation of the development of the Walt Disney Company from the foundation until today. In the second part of the paper the situation of the media industry nowadays shall be explained at the example of the Walt Disney Company. Furthermore the changes which occurred in the media industry shall be pointed out.

The development of the Walt Disney Company:
1 2

Era (1930-1950) in which filmmaking, distribution, and exhibition was dominated by theatre corporations. Era (starting in 1950) in which television became popular and people started to buy television sets to watch TV at home 3 Cp.: Hill, John and Pamela Church Gibson (eds.), The Oxford Guide to Film Studies (1998) pages 245 ff.


The company was founded in California in 1923 by the two brothers Walt and Roy Disney. At that time Walt Disney had just produced his first short cartoon film, called Alice´s Wonderland. After a distributor for the first short film was found and the first contract was signed the successful story of the company, managed by the two brothers, was started. The first period of the business development can be set until the beginning of the Second World War. Until 1940 the two brothers had great success with the never ending innovations they created. After the creation of the first cartoon series, “Oswaldo the Lucky Rabbit” the first full color cartoons were produced by the Walt Disney Company. Furthermore in 1932 the two brothers were the first to detect merchandising and started to sell merchandise articles to their fans and customers. Within the same decade another novelty of the company was the first animated feature film “Snow White and the seven dwarfs”, which was announced in 1937. At that time it was the highest grossing film which was ever shown. With the beginning of the Second World War the Walt Disney Company got into financial problems. The highly innovative business of the Disney brothers was tremendously expensive. As a result they needed high incomes from their produced films to be able to profit from their work. During the war the company was not able to sell their films to foreign markets and therefore it did not have the sales it had before. Earnings decreased and the costly film productions were not profitable anymore. The animated feature films “Pinocchio”, “Fantasia”, and “Dumbo” made losses. Then “Bambi”...
tracking img