One hundred years is a long time to be making magic, but this year, The Walt Disney Company celebrated just that. As the Walt Disney Company turns 100, some stockholders are concerned that the magic will continue into the next century. While the company celebrates a magical 100 years, it also looks at a significant crossroads.
Walt Disney Company: Innovation
Walt Disney has always been focused on new, unique ways to capture the audience. From the very beginning, Disney brought new sound and color techniques to films that drastically changed the film industry forever.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first full-length animated feature to use technicolor. Many questioned Walt’s decision to put so much money and time into the film. No one believed that adults would enjoy a cartoon about dwarfs. Walt proved everyone wrong. The film won various awards, including an Academy Honorary Award in 1939.
During the early years of the company, the studio brought magic to audiences in a whole new way. New tools were used as the studio focused on sounds, color, and 3D camera technology in a way that hadn’t been done before.
Walt was willing to put money towards discoveries, and this continued for years to come.
As a new century arrived, Pixar started with even more progress. Pixar’s focus on computer-generated animations like Toy Story (1995) began to surpass Disney’s traditional hand-drawn style.
As Disney adjusted to the new times, it continued to show that the company was constantly adjusting. Moving with the times is critical to staying essential and relevant. Disney has been willing to make those adjustments in the past, but some are wondering what is next.
The new challenge that Disney is facing revolves around streaming. Many investors are worried as Disney’s share price has dropped to its lowest in nearly nine years. As Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN continue to adjust pricing and look at solutions, investors are concerned about the company’s future and streaming.
Bank of America Securities Senior U.S. Media and Entertainment Analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich reflected on Bob Iger’s performance as CEO by saying, “It’s a little hard to put a grade on Bob because the entire industry is suffering… you can’t blame Bob for the ‘ad recession’ that’s going on of course in the industry, nor the decline in the linear pay-TV universe, some of this stuff… it is what it is, and I think there’s a lot of confidence that Bob can do it.”
The Walt Disney Company has always been a leader in the industry. For 100 years, we have enjoyed magical stories brought to us in theatres and now in the comfort of our homes. We hope the magic continues into the next century as well.