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Moms know -- and love -- Disney
Even when Disney wasn't cool, mothers knew that they could catch a 90-minute break from the children by popping The Lion King or Toy Story into the VCR.
Now that Disney is cool, to quote Hannah Montana, "it's the best of both worlds."
Disney is a pretty special company. Moms know it because they trust the Disney brand to be family-friendly. The quality of the brand may have been suspect when Disney was pushing out direct-to-video sequels or poorly scripted theatrical releases, but that changed once Bob Iger took the helm and made winning over Steve Jobs and acquiring Pixar a top priority. That move alone turned Disney from an animation studio afterthought -- well behind Pixar and even DreamWorks Animation
It's been a smooth run since Iger stepped up. Disney has beaten quarterly estimates in each and every quarter. The theme parks are on a roll, with free-spending foreigners (spending liberally given the dirt cheap dollar) offsetting the sting of penny-pinching locals. ABC may be working its way through an advertising funk -- similar to rivals like CBS
Disney is a hit factory right now. When Disney Channel blesses you with the one-two punch of High School Musical and Hannah Montana, it's easy to get lost in the mania. However, Disney always seems to pull a rabbit -- or a mouse -- out of its hat.
Iger has been alluding to "The Disney Difference" over the past year, defined as Disney's ability to seamlessly transform a hit in one of its properties into success elsewhere. Its Disney Channel hits helped turn around Disney's fledgling prerecorded music business. The Hannah Montana concert movie did great this year, and High School Musical 3 will hit the big screen before making a predictably long run on Disney Channel.
Revenue is growing, but earnings are growing even faster. It's a testament to Iger's ability to tug back on costs in crafting a scalable model that is refreshing to see in the entertainment industry.
If you can't bring Disney to your mom, you're just being flat-out goofy.