During Thursday’s call with analysts to discuss Disney’s record breaking earnings for 2011, CEO Bob Iger, who last month announced a plan to put a successor in place by 2015, was asked what he wanted to accomplish with the time he has left in charge.
Iger said that the strategic priorities he talked about when he got the job in 2005 are still in place. The start, he said, with making great product.
“That’s even more interesting and more compelling today than it was back then because the world is offering us even more opportunities to leverage great product, either because of new technology or compelling growth in emerging markets. And that’s the real value proposition for us. I want nothing more for this company than to make great product,” he said.
“And I’d say if I had a goal in mind over the remainder of my tenure, which isn’t as brief as, I think, people suggests, it’s to improve the quality of our output. Technology is a huge, huge strategic priority for us. I talked about it when I talk about content. Let’s use it to distribute more effectively and to monetize better. It should also be used to make our product better as well,” he said.
He also pointed to recent deals in China, India and Russia. “It is imperative for this company to plant a number of seeds in the emerging world. When you look into the remainder of this decade or the next decade, growth from emerging markets is going to outpace growth in the developed world, and that’s the first time that’s happened in 200 years. So that’s very important, sticking to our knitting and doing more of it.”
Later in the call, Iger had a surprising take on how well traditional media has held up in the face of new technology.
“Five years ago, we would’ve been talking about just how devastating the impact of the DVR would have been on the advertising business. So we’re finding that with roughly 42% penetration of DVRs in the United States and people who have DVRs watching substantially more TV. That actual increase in ratings in DVR households is pretty interesting,” he said. “And now that we can sell on a C3 basis, maybe ultimately, we’ll be able to sell even on a C7 basis. That’s all monetizable. It’s not all detrimental to our business model. If anything you could argue, it’s actually enhancing it.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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