Disney Buys Pixar… The End of Good Animated Movies?

From the It-takes-more-than-cool-technology dept.

Disney Announces Pixar Purchase

Jan. 24, 2006 — The Walt Disney Company took a big step today toward bolstering its position in the film business. It has agreed to purchase Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion. The deal combines Pixar with Disney’s animation unit and represents the union of two huge forces in animation, from the old world of films and the new.

This would be bad, bad, bad news for both companies except for two tidbits:

Pixar CEO Steve Jobs will become Disney’s largest shareholder, giving him an extraordinary position at the confluence of technology and entertainment, computers and film, as well as a commanding presence in the music industry through Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Jobs will also be appointed to Disney’s Board of Directors.

For Disney, and its new CEO Robert Iger, the deal secures what has been a hugely valuable source of animated hits.

The purchase is an all stock deal in which 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share. The sale is expected to completed by this summer.

And the biggie:

The combined company is expected to maintain the basic working structure that Disney and Pixar used before, with Disney providing distribution and co-financing for Pixar’s computer-animated features.

That would be a good idea.

Perhaps Iger can do a better job than Eisner at managing the animation works at Disney.

In a way you can’t “buy” Pixar. Sure they have mountains of physical assets and tons of proprietary software but Pixar is not a technology company… It is a group of artists. It is a culture that fosters creativity and excellence. Disney would be well served leaving them basically untouched. — If Disney could produce an animated film in the last 20 or so years, they would not have needed Pixar.

The Jobs thing is a wildcard. He clearly sees that media is bigger than hardware. The one thing he does is bring some vision to a company that was founded on the vision of Walt, but -frankly- has had no vision for decades.

As a long time Disney watcher, Disney had lost focus on the consumer and Jobs will be sure to mention that to them any time they forget.

In related news….

WB, UPN Networks to Merge, Creating CW Television
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) — CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. agreed to combine the unprofitable UPN and WB television networks, seeking to create a stronger competitor to the top four broadcasters after struggling to draw audiences on their own.

CW Television Network will begin airing in September as the fifth-largest broadcaster by viewers. CBS, owner of UPN, and Time Warner, part owner of WB, will each own 50 percent, the companies said today at a press conference in New York. Tribune Co. gives up a holding in WB in return for an affiliate agreement.

Apparently today was media consolidation day. I wonder if Kevin will buy out Instapundit or something?

And the rock cried out, "No hiding place!"
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  1. ClobberGirl January 24, 2006
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