Bob Iger on Movies, Piracy, American Idol, the Economy and.. D23!? (Audio Included)
Speaking from the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom Conference on March 3, Disney President and CEO Robert Iger had a lot to say during a Q&A session on the current state of the company and its potential future.
The overall theme was setting focus on the Disney brand name and transforming Disney.com into one stop shopping for all things Disney. On the movie front, this means shying away from producing non-Disney branded films (the deal with DreamWorks involves minimal investment relying mostly on the use of ‘other people’s money’ and results in bigger profit margins for the distributor). Iger also discussed the concern of movie piracy but suggested rather than using the record industry as an example, that the company consider lowering price points and simplifying distribution such as digital downloads that get the product into the consumer’s hands more quickly.
On the theme parks, Iger said attendance is ‘chugging along reasonably well’ and that current attendance is on par with last year’s, but concedes that per capita spending is down on items such as merchandise and that discounts are abundant. Iger mentioned the ‘fantastic’ American Idol Experience which he ‘experienced,’ but denies ever auditioning for the attraction.
Addressing an audience member’s concern on the recent announcements regarding layoffs and early exits, Iger said decisions were difficult as he personally knows many employees affected by the situation but that the boss was the bottom line and that if demand for services is falling, upkeeping the numbers of employees just isn’t justified. He noted that the company is growing by developing projects in other countries and that creates jobs and redeployment of the employees was a considered option but ultimately not a viable one.
Buzz words for Iger included affinity, subscribers and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and how those things could be leveraged by the company in respect to someone who’s a fan of Disney in general. Although these words and phrases were peppered throughout the presentation, it all ultimately built up to where Iger talks about the ‘Disney subscriber’ being able to be a ‘member of a Disney affinity club which is something [he thinks we'll] be able to see sometime soon … maybe even as early as a few days.’
For your enjoyment, a clip of Iger all but mentioning D23 by name follows: