Few companies combine content, commerce, and technology quite like Disney. The key to Disney’s success is focus. The company thoroughly analyzes the appetite for new ideas before placing its strategic bets.
Although the staggeringly popular Frozen has left theaters, Disney has kept the film’s franchise growing with new theme park attractions, video games, an ice show, more than 300 types of toys, an upcoming Broadway musical, frozen food, and a sequel in the works. However, Frozen is just one of the things that the brand is doing right. The only thing that might exceed Elsa’s shelf space, it seems, is an invader from Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, which is set to hit theaters in December 2015. With the recent announcement of two new Star Wars–themed “lands” at its California and Florida parks (the largest single-themed expansion in history), the brand’s commitment to making fans’ dreams a reality is unmistakable.
Under CEO Bob Iger, the entertainment giant has become a master at betting on properties that can delight both customers and shareholders. Each one of those properties, from Avengers to Toy Story, is managed as a multinational franchise with multiple revenue streams, across Disney properties and beyond. That’s meant fewer but bigger bets—with almost a dozen names now generating more than USD $1 billion in branded products annually. Disney has doubled down on its brick-and-mortar and roller coaster worlds, especially in Asia, where it has opened a store in Shanghai and will soon open a USD $5 billion theme park.
Disney understands that the most valuable content can be marketed in multiple ways and demonstrates a commitment to delivering personalized experiences. Its MagicBands, RFID-embedded wristbands that serve as Walt Disney World visitors’ ticket media and hotel keys and also link to preferences and payment information, were a USD $1 billion investment that proved a strong success. Disney Movies Anywhere, the Disney studio’s cloud-based movie service, recently expanded through partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon. The company is also launching a digital membership service in the U.K. called DisneyLife, which allows viewers to access the biggest collection of Disney movies, books, and music at home, on tablets, and on mobile phones. These offerings expand Disney’s own ecosystem, and ensure consumers get more of the Disney they love, whenever and wherever they want it.