Coming Off a Record Year, Hong Kong's Disneyland Looks to Expand Offerings

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 18, 2014 12:52 PM

Hong Kong Disneyland wasn’t an immediate hit when it opened back in 2005, but things appear to have taken a turn for the better for the theme park. It doubled its net profits last year while setting a new attendance record, Variety reports, and it now plans to open a third hotel.

The park, a joint venture 52 percent owned by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and 48 percent owned by a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., brought in $31.2 million in the financial year that ended in September 2013. Attendance was up to 7.4 million, a 10 percent jump over the previous year, and more importantly, spending per head increased by 6 percent. 

“Steady growth was registered across the three main sources of guests from the local community, mainland China and international markets, with the latter two accounting for about two-thirds of total guests,” said Andrew Kam, HKDL managing director.

The park's hotel occupancy rates have been consistently over 90 percent over the last three years, giving the park confidence to open up a new, 750-room hotel in 2017 that will have an exotic locations theme. The new accomodations will bring the park's room number up to 1,750.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Disney's New Startup Accelerator Includes Jewels of Wisdom From Yoda

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2014 02:54 PM

Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, Iron Man and Yoda are about to learn the ways of smart tech startups in exchange for their pop-culture muscle as beloved intellectual property.

The Walt Disney Company is launching the Disney Accelerator in a partnership with Techstars, choosing 10 early-stage startups and investing $120,000 in each. 

The new accelerator will draw on talent from Disney and its subsidiaries including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering in a three-month program where first-time entrepreneurs will have access to entertainment industry leaders and venture capitalists, not to mention Disney CEO Bob Iger.

The Disney Accelerator “offers a unique collaboration between some of the best creative minds in the entertainment industry and the modern-day visionaries who are starting businesses on the strength of exciting new ideas,” said Kevin Mayer, Disney’s EVP corporate strategy and business development.

Disney looked to Techstars for help in implementing the program as they’ve run similar programs with Microsoft, Nike, Barclays and Kaplan.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Disney Adds Indiana Jones to the Mouse Club

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 12, 2013 11:37 AM

The Walt Disney Company just inked a deal with Paramount Pictures to acquire control of all future Indiana Jones films (excluding the four existing Indy movies) and “will receive a financial participation on any future films.”                                     

It’s the latest in Disney’s pop culture net that has swept up the heroes and villains of generation after generation and is now home to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Buzz Lightyear—and the bull-whip-wielding archeologist.

With Indy in the house, although Disney has not officially announced a fifth Indiana Jones film, surely it’s percolating if Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas want to continue the saga. The last installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, grossed $783 million worldwide in a franchise that has earned $1.9 billion. Continue reading...


Flying High on Film and TV Success, Marvel Gives Its Logo an Equally Uplifting Refresh

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2013 06:25 PM

Disney spent $9 billion back in 2009 to buy Marvel Studios, the home of the Avengers, the Silver Surfer, and Spider-Man. While the pair have worked together in the past, the release of Thor: The Dark World this month presented an opportunity for the studio to build up its own brand as it was the first independently produced film from Marvel.

So Marvel did what many brands have been doing lately: redesigned its logo. While the changes are slight, Marvel execs feel the added elements and bold text speak to both the heritage and future of the comic brand. 

"We didn't want to re-invent the wheel, but we wanted it to feel bigger, to feel more substantial, which is why it starts with the flip, but suddenly it's more dimensional as we go through the lettering and it reveals itself with the metallic sheen before settling into the white-on-red, well known Marvel logo, with the added flourish of the arrival and the announcement of the Studios at the bottom of the word Marvel," studio head Kevin Feige explained.Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Amazon Readies to Debut Original Content as Netflix Drops Marvel Bomb

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 7, 2013 06:37 PM

It’s getting easier and easier for the American public to unplug from the tyranny of cable television: Hulu, Aereo, Netflix, Amazon, and a slew of others are offering up digital-video content to the public that doesn’t require the restrictive packages that pay-TV touts.

Streaming movies and re-runs is one thing, but creating original content that rivals some of the best cable TV shows is one sure way to ensure customer converts. Netflix has led the way with its Emmy-winning House of Cards and critically-adored Orange is the New Black. But Amazon is now making its move, launching Alpha House on Nov. 15 and Betas one week later.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, the two services have some significant differences. Netflix releases entire seasons of its shows at one time so consumers can binge-watch, while Amazon will release the first three episodes of each show together and then release one episode per week after that. Also, Netflix gets its new shows the old-school way while Amazon has given the go-ahead to two pilots from scripts it received via an online portal it has set up.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Walmart, BlackBerry, Costco and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 9, 2013 09:31 AM

In the News

Walmart greatly expands beer sales.

BlackBerry open to going private, Reuters says.

Costco hailed as "cheapest, happiest company in the world."

Apple and Samsung battle into the next round on patents.

Audi expects to top US sales goal this year.

Best Buy works to get its website up to snuff.

Cadbury uses creative defense in India tax case.

Coca-Cola plots returning Mello Yello citrus soda to national status.

Danone buys fun yogurt brand to add to US expansion.

Elizabeth Arden says orders have evaporated for celebrity perfumes.

Facebook is cautious about video advertising.Continue reading...

brand revival

DC Comics Re-Invests in Mature Vertigo Brand with New Series

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 1, 2013 10:37 AM

The comics industry is getting stronger, bringing in an estimated $700 million to $730 million last year, up from $660 million to $690 million in 2011, according to John Jackson Miller, the editor of Comics Chronicle. But the 20-year-old Vertigo, a DC Comics imprint that doesn’t follow the same, cookie-cutter superhero storylines, isn’t contributing much to that profit.

After 20 years of publishing without anything close to a big hit, there were lots of rumors that DC would pull the plug on Vertigo. Instead, DC is re-investing in the brand and launching six new series this fall, the New York Times reports. The hope is that mature readers, hip to the world of graphic novels, will pick up the new series and latch on in a different way than those following Batman’s latest squabble.

“Right now, we’re in the middle of Vertigo’s transformation from a relatively sheltered idea and talent farm to a much more competitive place,” wrote Marc-Oliver Frisch on his comic-culture news blog The Beat, according to the New York Times. “Whether or not this is going to help DC in re-establishing the Vertigo brand as a selling point, we’re going to find out in the next several months.”Continue reading...

product placement

Gillette, Audi Embrace Meta-Marketing for 2013 Tentpole Tie-Ins

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 10, 2013 10:52 AM

Superman doesn't shave, to answer Gillette's question. At least, that's according to 1959's Superman issue No. 132, which explains that only in the presence of a "red sun" does Superman's hair grow and lose indestructibility. If necessary, the Man of Steel can use his heat vision to laser away the follicles.

But what fun is that explanation?

As one of the many, many partners for the upcoming Man of Steel film, Gillette has quite ingenuously found an angle to differentiate its tie-in and engage consumers by resurrecting a classic question about how Superman shaves.Continue reading...

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