The House of Mouse firms up foundation

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        An iconic mouse, a collection of beloved "Cars" and a new retail concept are just some of the strategies that Disney Consumer Products will mobilize to strengthen its brand equity and secure its standing as one of today's strongest franchises.

   This insight was delivered by DCP chairman Andy Mooney who recently briefed the media via teleconference on the heels on the International Licensing Show. No doubt, the company is a standout in the world of licensing with consumer products growing at a compounded rate of 12% per annum over the last 10 years.

   The always confident Mooney explained that "our primary objective in franchise development has been to diversify our portfolio to connect with a broader range of consumers. We've not only grown the number of Disney franchises from only two in the year 2000 to 13 in 2011, but classic franchises have not suffered because of it. This is evidenced by global retail sales of Mickey Mouse and Friends merchandise on track to generate $9 billion and the incremental retail space devoted to 'Cars 2' in addition to the already substantial 'Cars' line."  As a caveat: the "Cars 2" program has over 1,000 skus making it the largest program in licensing history.

   Disney's youngest consumers are also a major focus with the plans to test its first Disney Baby concept store in fall 2012 at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. A second store is also planned in an undisclosed East Coast location.

   Short-term content is another area of interest with Cars Toons due in movie theatres as a preview to animated films, featured as a bonus on Disney DVDs, offered in high rotation on Disney Channel and Disney XD as well as through other digital platforms. The first Toy Story Toon, "Hawaiian Vacation," will debut this summer in movie theaters as a preview to "Cars 2" and will then be seen on Disney Channel and Disney Online, plus the "Cars 2" DVD this fall. Disney·Pixar will produce two additional Toy Story Toons in 2012 with plans for future production.

Some other initiatives: 

  • Support for a short-film series for "The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh," as well as the addition of short-form series "Have a Laugh" and "Re-Micks" to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The fully restored and digitally remastered versions of classic cartoons created by Walt Disney are presented daily on Disney Channel.
  • Rapunzel joins the Disney Princess Royal Court in fall with a special global celebration; "A Royal Wedding," a short-form animation special where Rapunzel marries Flynn Rider will air on Disney Channel in spring 2012. Come fall 2012, Disney Junior will premiere "Sofia the First," a new full length animated special and series pilot set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princess characters.
  • Now in its fifth year, Disney Fairies adds three direct-to-video films; Pixie Previews short-form content on Disney Channel; the DisneyFairies.com website and new stories via Disney Fairies digi-comics, plus a new Disney Channel special releasing this fall, "Disney's Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games." Moving into 2012, Disney Fairies will receive unified branding across the company.
  • The launch of Disney Junior, a 24-hour channel in 2012 dedicated to programming for kids 2 – 7, will air an additional 108 hours of weekly programming. A new Minnie series for 2012 and short-form content premiering in fall 2011 is in development. New series such as "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is slated in 2012.
  • Disney Channel faves "Phineas and Ferb" will star in over 100 episodes through 2012 as well as in a feature film in development. Licensing programs are planned for new shows "Shake It Up" with Target nabbing an exclusive back-to-school apparel launch; Payless supporting a shoe collection; and Kmart weighing in with a line of merchandise. Mattel will also launch a line of dolls inspired by lead characters CeCe and Rocky as part of its new Disney VIP Doll collection in time for the holidays. Other new shows on the radar are newcomer "A.N.T. Farm" and "Madison High," a "High School Musical" spin-off due in 2012.

         Indeed, Disney plans an ambitious slate, but who could expect anything more from a company whose founder Walt Disney once said, "We should never forget that it all started with a Mouse."

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