A global company can be defined as a business enterprise with manufacturing, sales, or service subsidiaries in one or more foreign countries, also known as a transnational or international corporation. The Walt Disney Company is an American multinational diversified mass media company. It is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded in 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions has since established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production and television.
In 1986, The Walt Disney Company expanded its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theatre, radio, music, publishing, and online media. The Disney corporation has gone on to own and operate various other highly successful media outlets such as the ABC broadcast television network; cable television networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN, A+E Networks, and ABC Family. And to add to this list they own 14 theme parks across the globe and a highly successful music division. So as we can see the company is a flourishing company that dominates the markets it invests in.
Its logo by itself is influential in the sale of its products and is a globalised image. Merchandise alone earned Disney US$23 billion in 2006. And its globalisation doesn’t just breach media and sales; in manufacturing it employs 130 000 employees of its own and 40 000 suppliers in over 50 countries. But how far has this corporation that began as a small animation studio in California grown? And how Globalised is it? Disney’s most useful technique is its power to adapt to the country it spreads to.
For example, to flagship its expansion to a new culture a movie is produced; “Mulan” marked Disney’s entry into China, “The Hunchback of Notre Damme” was launched to re-brand Disneyland in Paris, and “Lion King” was aimed at Africa and “Finding Nemo” for Australia. Disney owned TV channels are broadcasted 24 hours a day 7 days a week in North Africa, Europe, Middle East, Australia, Malaysia and even Cuba(this is an amazing accomplishment since most American companies are allowed to trade in the country).
So as we can see Disney’s global media marketing campaign is very strong, with constant broadcasting across the globe. It’s a global marketplace, but each country presents a different market segment and a different voice of the customer. To be successful, you must make sure that your value proposition — the story that you tell your customers — translates well across cultural differences. Another way the corporation can be seen as globalised is through its production line.
Disney outsources the majority of its manufacturing and demands quick delivery time. By doing this they can ensure that price of goods are high while cost of production of goods is low. Factories tend to be placed in LEDCs where the average income is low in comparison to the USA. Workers in China and Vietnam have to deal with being late or less than promised and use of toxic substances banned in the USA. Workers in a Bangladesh textile factory were paid US$0. 15 for every US$17. 99 Disney shirt they sewed.
A Chinese toy supplier for Tokyo Disneyland closed in 2006 after a campaign against working conditions in the factory, 800 workers lost their jobs with no compensation, after working 12-16 hours a day. If the failed to meet production quotas they had to work unpaid overtime and go without lunch breaks. Those assembling stuffed toys suffered skin allergies and sore throats from inhaling fine particles from the stuffing. Figure 1 In July 2008, Disney reported a 9% rise in net quarterly profits.
As we go into 2009 we believe that the challenges we faced in 2008 will still exist, and as we manage the company we’re managing it with that in mind,” said Chief executive Robert Iger. This was during the beginning of the global recession of 2008-11. If we look at a stock chart mapping the rise and fall of Disney over the last year (Fig 1) In 2001 Disney aimed to boost the proportion of its international revenue to above 30% in the next five years, from 18%. This was very ambitious but with various successful business ventures focussing on expanding their corporation to dominate in other areas globally it was able to do this.