The history of The Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney or “the company”) can be traced back to 1923, when Walt Disney and Roy Disney set up Disney Brothers Studio in Hollywood, California. Plane Crazy (or as most people know as “Steamboat Willie”), directed by Walt Disney, was the first cartoon produced by Disney studios in 1928. That was the beginning of the company, but forward a couple decades, and in 1998, Disney purchased web services from Starwave, a Seattle based software company. Disney also acquired 43% stake in internet search engine Infoseek for $70 million and launched the GO network, in 1999. Subsequently, the company bought the remaining 57% interest in Infoseek and formed GO.com, a web portal, which eventually became Walt Disney Internet Group. Go.com was not a great business deal for the company, which we will delve on more later, when we explore more about this decision in future articles.

In the early 2001, Walt Disney expanded its theme parks in Anaheim, the US and restructured its Internet business. For example, the company re-entered into a multi-year agreement with Eastman Kodak, a technology company focused on imaging for business, to make Kodak the exclusive imaging supplier of film and related products at Disney theme parks/resorts. Skip a few years, and in 2005, Walt Disney’s internet group acquired Minds Eye, one of the leading interactive television games developers. 

2012 was the “start of something new” and great for Disney. That year, Walt Disney and Comcast announced a long-term distribution agreement that would deliver the company’s sports, news and entertainment content to Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers. This would help deliver video content to customers across multiple platforms using the latest technology and cloud innovation. Also in 2012, Disney, the Ministry of Culture’s China Animation Group, and Tencent, China’s largest internet service provider, formed a partnership to create “The National Animation Creative Research and Development Cooperation,” to advance the country’s animation industry. Finally, the company acquired Lucasfilm (as we all know and love), a fully-integrated entertainment company, the studio that produced the renowned Star Wars films.

2012 is a really important year for Disney, as we see a huge increase in financial information and charts starting from that year. This is in part due to the major technology and animation investments and acquisitions the company made. From 2012 to the high point of 2015/2016, there was a four-times increase of Disney’s financials and stocks (high of $122.08 at the end of 2015.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-18-22-pm

(Market data chart of 20 years for Disney, showing years from 1996-2016)

Many financial sites and charts showed the same huge increase for the company throughout these years. Technology and the Internet definitely played a major factor for Disney’s development and success. The company’s most recent technology endeavor was entering “into an agreement to acquire Maker Studios, a network of online video content on YouTube, for approximately $500 million, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $450 million, in 2014.” The acquisition was really important and beneficial because it provided advanced technology and business intelligence capability regarding consumers’ discovery and interaction with short-form online videos, especially Disney’s content (ex. “As Told By Emoji”).

The information and data from the this post and the last post are from:

MarketLine (http://advantage.marketline.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/Product?pid=8C7AE530-4ECC-4EF5-AC18-370E646FD097&view=History)

and Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/chart?symbol=DIS.N)

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