(click to enlarge)
The rough sketch above, drawn in 1957 and left behind by Walt Disney in the Disney Archives, helped build the Mouse House into the multi-billion dollar entertainment corporation it is today.
Though the boxes on the chart have changed, the underlying synergistic strategy is still in use by Disney. According to Todd Zenger of the Harvard Business Review, the sketch “depicts a central film asset that in very precise ways infuses value into and is in turn supported by an array of related entertainment assets.”
According to former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, Disney has an “incessant focus on franchises.” He told a group of financial analysts last September:
“Everything we do is about brands and franchises.”
“Ten years ago we were more like other media companies, more broad-based, big movie slate, 20 something pictures, some franchise, some not franchise. If you look at our slate strategy now, our television strategy, almost every aspect of the company, we are oriented around brands and franchises.”
The franchise model is quite adaptable for large, multifaceted businesses such as Disney. It is basically a neverending cycle where media entertainment drives merchandise sales and theme park visits, which in turn generates interest for future movie sequels and spin-offs.