Its worldwide operations cover a wide-range of industries, mainly in four business divisions: Media Networks, which includes television broadcast, network and radio stations; Theme Parks and Resorts, such as the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida; Studio Entertainment, which produces motion pictures, musical recordings, and plays; and Consumer Products, comprising merchandise, retail, and games. It also owns and operates networks including ESPN and ABC, which produce movies, television programs, news, and sports coverage.
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Here’s a breakdown of some of Disney’s key business divisions:
Founded in 1971 by filmmaker George Lucas, Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion dollars and falls under the company’s studio entertainment division. Lucasfilm’s portfolio includes the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Its 2015 movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, generated more than $2 billion in box office worldwide, and it was followed by a sequel, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, that grossed more than $1 billion in box office globally in 2016. The next installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is slated to to be released in December 2017.
In 2006, Disney acquired computer animation company Pixar for $7.4 billion, which was run by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at the time. The company is under Disney’s studio entertainment division.
When Pixar went public in 1995, it was the largest IPO of the year. Some of its greatest hits include the Toy Story franchise as well as A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Up, and Inside Out.
Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 in a $4 billion deal, gaining with it its movie studio and a cache of more than 5,000 iconic comic book characters.
Marvel’s iconic characters include Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men. The company’s The Avengers is the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, bringing in more than $1.5 billion in box office worldwide since its release in 2012. Marvel also falls under Disney’s studio entertainment division.
Walt Disney Animation, Disney Music Group, Disneytoon, & Disney Theatrical Group
Under its studio entertainment division, Disney creates and produces movies, music, and plays through Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disneytoon Studios, and Disney Music Group.
Walt Disney Animation Studio’s first ever film was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Since then, it has produced Frozen, The Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, Tangled, and many more. Disney’s Theatrical Group produces Disney On Broadway and Disney On Ice.
ABC is a subsidiary of Disney Media Networks. It airs some of TV’s most popular shows, including The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Disney’s $19 billion acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in 1995 combinedthe ABC television network and its TV and radio stations (including ESPN) with Disney’s theme parks and Hollywood TV and film studios. The acquisition also gave Disney an ownership stake in A&E network and Lifetime channel.
Disney acquired ESPN, through its acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. It’s a joint venture between Disney and Hearst Corporation.
ESPN is one of the most-watched cable networks in the country and falls under Disney’s media networks division. It also operates ESPN.com, WatchESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU and airs SportsCenter and 30 for 30 films.
ESPN is also the owner of FiveThirtyEight. A statistical analysis website that gained fame for correctly predicting the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. (It was wrong predicting the 2016 election, however.) FiveThirtyEight was acquired and integrated by ESPN in 2013.
In August, Disney announced that it would soon launch an ESPN-branded video streaming service, which will feature live regional, national, and international games, including Major League Soccer and Baseball and National Hockey League.
Disney renamed its ABC Family cable network Freeform in 2015 in an effort to attract high school and college-aged audience.
Freeform is home to popular shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Beyond, and Famous in Love, which ranks as cable TV’s no. 1 drama among target audience aged 18 to 34 and 12 to 34 in its final season. Most recently, the company announced an upcoming project, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, a spinoff of the original hit show. The channel is part of Disney’s media networks division.
Disney Parks & Resorts
Disney owns or operates 12 theme parks and 52 resorts around the world, including Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Paris, and its newest venture, Shanghai Disney Resort. Shanghai Disney, which opened in June of 2016, reportedly cost $5.5 billion to build and had 10 million visitors during its first year. Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is situated on 25,000 acres,where guests can visit Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom.