The Walt Disney Company: Case Study The Walt Disney Company: Case Study The Walt Disney Company was founded by WaltDisney and his brother Roy in the year 1927. As Baldwin, Liu and Suzuki (2005) note, initially, the company engaged in cartoon and animation production, and in a period of less than a century, it grew to a global entertainment company with theme parks, resort complexes, motion picture and television production and distribution, publishing and retail, consumer products licensing, and many other activities (p. 261). Despite all these ventures, the most important revenue source for the company is its theme parks.
The very first theme park was started in the year 1955 in Anaheim near Los Angeles, and it was followed by the Walt Disney Resort near Orlando in the year 1971. It was in the year 1983 that the company engaged in an international theme park named Tokyo Disneyland. The idea was developed by Oriental Land Company, (OLC) and in fact, all the investment too came from OLC. The Tokyo Disney land was a huge success as the Japanese readily accepted the American way of entertainment, and Disney received 10% of admission revenues and 5% of food and souvenir revenues as royalty with no apparent investment (Baldwin et al, p.
262). Overwhelmed by the success, Disney decided to start another international venture in France, and instead of passive commitment that reduced their share of profit, the company decided to take 49% ownership in the new venture. However, contrary to Disney calculations, the theme park received a lukewarm welcome in Europe. It miserably failed to find a balance between American and European cultures, and considering the strict values and dress code of the company as an indication of American imperialism, people stayed away from the theme park.
Thereafter, Hong Kong invited Disney to start an international theme park there as the Hong Kong government thought the park would boost the failing tourism industry there as a result of September 11 attack and the spread of SARS. Disney was offered 43% ownership. Though many people alleged that the company was given more than it deserved, the government believed that the park would attract nearly 3.4 million visitors in the first year of its operation, thus significantly increasing revenue (Baldwin, et al, p.
264). Admittedly, the company has a lot of things to take care of in the new venture in Hong Kong. First of all, it has to retain its traditional features at the same time adapting itself to the local cultures. That means, while retaining the Disney culture, it will have to entertain the traditional Chinese masses. This all has to take place in a city where the Japanese cartoon characters have more influence on the population than the Disney characters have.
Two other important issues are the allegation of pollution and cultural dilution. It is alleged that the fireworks at Disney would further deteriorate the air quality in Hong Kong where there is little air ventilation because of the dense population and large number of skyscrapers. Despite all these points, the company is optimistic that the theme at the park is a sufficient amalgamation of the traditional Disney and local Chinese cultures. The last issue the company will face is that it will not be able to depend totally on the local Chinese population.
Instead, it will have to attract people from far away places. That means wider communication and publicity. 1. The very first issue for Disneyland in Hong Kong will be the environmental issues in Hong Kong. Due to dense population and large number of skyscrapers, there is little air movement, and hence, the fireworks at Disney are likely to be disliked by people. The second issue is the presence of some skeptics who believe that Disney would result in further dilution of Chinese culture.
The next point is the higher degree of influence by the Japanese cartoon characters on the population as compared to Disney characters. The last point is that the Hong Kong Disneyland will not be able to totally rely on Chinese visitors. It will have to depend on visitors from far away places; an effort that is not so easy. 2. The principal stakeholders in this case are the Hong Kong government and Disney Company. For the Hong Kong government, inviting Disney means increasing its number of visitors and thus increased revenue from tourism.
The tourism industry in Hong Kong that was hard-hit by the 11 September attack and SARS spread requires a boost to return to growth. For Disney, this is the third international venture where it has 43% ownership for no apparent investment. Even though there is no substantial investment, a failure in the project will affect the image of the company in Asia. 3. The Tokyo Disneyland and Euro Disneyland provide a lot of valuable insights about the importance of corporate communication.
In Japan, Disney tried to provide a genuine and authentic American Disney experience. So, the employees selected showed no issues in accepting the American guidelines, protocols and dress code. On the other hand, in France, the effort was to provide a locally adapted Disney experience. However, there it faced problems in making the newly recruited staff adapt to the American dress and grooming codes. Here, as the company claimed it would adapt itself to local preference, it could not recruit people who are ready to embrace the values of the company. So, many employees left the company.
Thus, it becomes evident that the values and expectations should be conveyed properly, and only those who are ready to abide by the values of the company should be recruited as employees. References Baldwin, J. L., Liu, A & Suzuki, H. (2005). The Walt Disney Company: Launch of a Hong Kong theme Park. Eugene D. Fanning Center for Business Communication. 260-268.