DEVELOPING …“Today’s presentation will show you where we’re going, but also remind you that we are starting from a position of strength and optimism,” Bob Iger announced at today’s Disney Investor Day on the 96-year old company’s Burbank lot.
“This is the first time that we’ve met with you since the Fox deal closed, the Disney boss added after an overview of the now melded media company played on the constantly sparkling huge screen behind him. “Did we miss anything?” he added with a smile and to laughs in the high tech suited up Stage 2
With an obvious interest to both plant a flag with its upcoming Disney+ steaming service and Apple’s talent heavy but detail-lite roll out of its own service on March 25 up in Silicon Valley, Iger and the teleprompter repeatedly returned to the notion of Disney’s “evergreen” ethos in his remarks.
Telling a tale of watching Disney films with numerous generations of his own family, the CEO threw down that the Walt-founded company and Fox have been entertaining the world at the highest level” for decades. He then pivoted in a clear warning to newcomer Apple and established streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon that Disney+ and other new services are “being built at a level no one can compete with” based on both that deep bench of content and technology.
Promising “Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel films and series are “going to populate Disney+,” Iger stated that his edict to his Generals and troops is “To create great content and delivering it in innovative ways.”
In that vein and coming off a passionate speech last night against hate in the political arena at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance tribute dinner, the exec claimed that the newly expanded Disney aimed to “thrive and grow and be more relevant that ever.”
Wrapped in full CEO mode, Iger hit all the right notes but left all the heavy lifting and details of debts, prices and bundling to his SVPs from corporate, ESPN, Hulu and the much-anticipated Disney+.
Again, putting Tim Cook and Apple on notice of how it’s done, what aims to be a well paced three-hour and multi-brand event in front of media and deep pocketed investors, the Disney chief followed VP Lowell Singer taking the circular stage to set the stage, so to speak. Speaking from Stage 2 on the legendary lot, the SVP Investor Relations set out the agenda as the safe harbor verbiage popped up on the huge screen at the front of the theater.
Noting that the closure of the $71.3 Fox acquisition just a few weeks ago as his boss had, Singer asserted that the agreement taking over the studio, its library and nets like FX “greatly enhances out ability to create content from around the world.”
With voiceovers from Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen promising “the thrill of discovery” and “innovation,” Singer himself was followed by a video full of footage of Walt himself and the new Fox properties, the Marvel universe, Star Wars, Mouseketeers, ABC series and pivotal news and sports moments, theme parks and a pause of sorts from the Oscar winning Nat Geo documentary Free Solo.
With surges of “tell me a story,” “experience,” and “taking a journey,” the condensed greatest hits history of the nearly 100 year old company was packed with both animated and live action clips like Toy Story and The Lion King as well as Fox blockbusters such as Titanic and indies such as Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic.
To hint that the House of Mouse was in on the joke of such a display, there was also some well received footage of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool summarizing the Disney/Fox deal and a witty clip of Owen Wilson referencing Star Wars from Touchstone’s 1998 space flick Armageddon.
Other Disney exec stuck to the party line of the power of their history and enhanced muscle going into the streaming world full tilt.
“Our aggressive move into the space reflects a fundamental shift in the marketplace and growing consumer demand for direct-to-consumer streaming services, which is a tremendous opportunity for us,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of DTC and International told the suited and booted audience. Thursday in the ring that served as a stage in Stage 2. “We have the brands that matter most to consumers when it comes to great entertainment,” streaming kingpin Meyer added, to make his and Disney’s shock and awe point sharp to friends and foe.
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