|Founded||October 16, 1923 (Los Angeles, California)|
|Founder(s)||Walt Disney and Roy Disney|
The Walt Disney Company (most commonly known as Disney) is the largest media and entertainment corporation in the world. Founded on October 16, 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, it is today the number two media company in the United States. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Burbank, California. Disney had revenues of $34.3 billion in 2006, and it is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
For much of its history, the company was known as Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., until February 6, 1986, when it was rechristened with its current name. Disney Enterprises, Inc., commonly seen in company legal notices, is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
Disney's main operating units are Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, Media Networks, and Consumer Products.
Its Studio Entertainment unit, also known as The Walt Disney Studios, is headed by company president Oren Aviv. It includes the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, a collection of movie studios including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures. The Miramax Films and Dimension Films studios are also a part of the unit, but operate autonomously in New York. Disney's Buena Vista Music Group, which includes Walt Disney Records, Mammoth Records, Lyric Street Records, and Hollywood Records, also falls under the umbrella of The Walt Disney Studios. The unit also includes Walt Disney Theatrical and Disney's distribution companies: Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment International.
One of the company's most successful and historically significant subsidiaries is its animation studio, Walt Disney Feature Animation, responsible for producing a number of successful and influential hand-drawn films. In the aftermath of the box office failures of some of its the most recent hand-drawn films and the stellar successes of CGI films from Pixar, Disney has shifted its production from hand-drawn films to early CGI films. The last traditionally-animated film was Home on the Range, and the first three computer-generated-imagery CGI films were Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt. Disney had fallen under much criticism for this change in direction, especially from fans who see the strength of a movie as its plot and its characters and not as the technology used to make it. However, in 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog, the first 2D-animated film in five years produced by DisneyToon Studios, followed by the most recent 2011's Winnie the Pooh, which one still was Pooh's first feature film theatrically released in six years. Since 2006, one Pixar produced CGI-animated feature and one Disney-produced traditional cel animated (or CGI) feature has been released under the Disney banner.
In 2006, Disney acquired Pixar and named Pixar executive John Lasseter the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Feature Animation and Principal Creative Advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering.
Walt Disney Studios, the company's main film and television production facility and corporate headquarters located in Burbank, California, is the only major Hollywood film studio that has never offered tours to the public. A partial tour of the Orlando, Florida feature animation satellite studio was available to attendees of Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios) until 2003.
The Media Networks unit is centered around the Wikipedia:American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network, which it acquired through a merger with Capital Cities/ABC in 1996. Ironically enough, it was ABC that helped Disney open the Disneyland theme park in 1955 with financing. Disney also owns a group of cable networks including the Disney Channel, ABC Family, Disney XD (formerly Toon Disney), the ESPN group (with 20% owned by Hearst Television, and SOAPnet through Disney-ABC Cable Networks. Disney also holds substantial interest in Lifetime, including the Lifetime Movie Network and A&E (37.5%), Hallmark Channel (50%, through the purchase of The Jim Henson Company), and E! (40%). It also owns ABC Studios (née Touchstone Television), which produces and distributes television programs not only for ABC, but other television networks.
Through ABC, Disney also owns local 10 television stations, ESPN Radio and Radio Disney, the latter two of which are considered part of the Disney-ABC Cable Group. Disney-ABC Domestic Television, formerly known as Buena Vista Television, which also is a part of the Media Networks unit, produces such syndicated television programs as the American version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Live with Regis and Kelly, It sold a majority interest of their 22 radio stations not affiliated (or owned) with either Radio Disney or ESPN and the ABC Radio Network, which includes media personalities such as Sean Hannity to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007.
Disney also operates its Hyperion publishing company and Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIC) through Media Networks. Hyperion has recently published books by comedian-author Steve Martin and bestselling author Mitch Albom. WDIC includes the Go.com web portal, based on the old Infoseek search engine which it purchased in 1998, and leading websites such as Disney.com, ESPN.com, and ABCNews.com.
Its Consumer Products unit includes Disney's merchandising and licensing business and its Disney Publishing Worldwide group, whose imprints include Disney Editions, Hyperion Books for Children and Disney Press. It also published the Disney Adventures children's magazine.
The unit includes Disney Store chain of shopping mall locations, which it sold in 2004 to The Children's Place, but were repurchased in May 2008, and also includes Jim Henson's Muppets characters, which it purchased via the merger with The Jim Henson Company in 2004.
- The Lion King was released in 1994 and was the company's highest grossing animated film of all time.