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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fascinating: Rich Ross Makes Moves (and Movies) at Disney | Fast Company


"...Ross's official title is chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, but he's really just a brand manager. He is responsible for protecting and growing the Disney brand, encouraging the creation of characters that can be distributed to consumers across a wide array of platforms (movie theaters, television, the web, digital devices, stage, CDs, theme parks, cruise lines, resorts, consumer products) and monetized around the world. Put plainly, his job is to make more money this year than last--that's the growing part. But if he's successful, he'll be asked to make even more the next year--that's where the protecting part comes into play.

This brand stewardship is the source of controversy surrounding Ross, Iger, and Disney in general these days. A lot of movie fans--ticket buyers, critics, and industry professionals included--hate seeing films reduced to such crass commercial terms. Hollywood still promotes itself as our manufacturer of dreams, relishing the cultural currency and aesthetic cachet that comes with the territory. Movie fans, too, have a deep emotional connection to the medium. One former high-level motion-picture agent laments that the brand focus at Disney now typifies the multinational, corporate way of thinking: "Nobody wants ideas and imagination anymore. They want presold products, and attendance is down because consumers are wise to it. The movie business has been taken over by nonmovie people. They're account executives and brand managers. That's why audience is declining. They don't know the audience." Of course, Ross and his colleagues can offer reams of data about who their audience is and what they want. But Ross is a newcomer to the film business who has been handed the keys to a storied movie studio. His roots are not only in television but in packaging shows for basic cable...."

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Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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