1. Since every industry changes in time, the key to success is adapting to those changes – hence, strategy is innovation.
2. When Robert Iger, Disney chair and CEO, purchased Pixar for $7.4 billion ten years ago, some in the industry thought he was crazy. The Disney empire was rooted in animation, and its classic characters — Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, the Disney princesses — are some of the best-known, and most beloved characters in the world.
3. Yet Disney Animation needed some breakthrough ideas.
4. So he struck a deal with then CEO Steve Jobs to buy Pixar. It was a bold push towards the future.
5. A few years later, Iger made another successful deal to buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009.
6. Iger used the Pixar and Marvel purchases to convince George Lucas to sell them Lucasfilm (for about $4 billion) in 2012. That deal brought the Stars Wars and the Indiana Jones franchises within Disney’s fold.
7. The three acquisitions revitalized Disney’s creative juices, and has allowed Disney to monetize these popular characters through as many outlets as possible — theme parks, movies, toys — as only Disney has proved able to do.
8. And the revitalized approach is paying dividends. During a six-month period from December 2015 to May 2016, Disney has cleaned the clock with a 25% market share in box office with Star Wars sequel, the Jungle Book, and Captain America: Civil War.
9. Iger announced that in the first quarter of this year, Disney “delivered the highest quarterly earnings in the history of our company, marking our 10th consecutive quarter of double-digit EPS growth.” The best may be yet to come: with a younger demographic in Asia, Disney is likely to experience growth in Disneyland theme parks built around charming Disney characters and stories.
10. Between the three acquisitions plus its own Walt Disney Animation and Walt Disney Pictures, Disney has built a studio with five film brands. Each film brand has many characters with imaginative stories that serve as franchisable assets.