We have already reorganised and repositioned the company for the future: Bob Iger

Chairman & CEO of The Walt Disney Company points out opportunities post the 21st Century Fox acquisition at D23 Expo 2019; honours 12 talented individuals for their contribution to the Disney legacy

by Srabana Lahiri
Published - Aug 26, 2019 8:28 AM Updated: Aug 26, 2019 9:59 AM

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Bob Iger

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, quoted the famous words of the company’s founder– “It all started with a mouse” - to draw a loud cheer from the 6,500-strong crowd gathered at the D23 Expo 2019 fan event at Anaheim, California, last week. “Thank you all for being such great fans of our work!,” Iger said at the event celebrating The Walt Disney Company’s legacy and giving fans a peek into the shape of things to come in future.

“A lot has changed in the (last) two years. But, no matter how big we get, no matter how many years pass, no matter how much our company and the world change, we have never lost sight of one thing. It all started with a mouse!” he said, underlining the company’s ethos and commitment to story-telling. “I have the privilege of running this phenomenal company for the last 14 years. I call it ‘the ride of a lifetime’, one that keeps getting better and better because we keep expanding and finding new ways to create joy and wonder in the world. The D23 Expo takes you inside our company, giving you an all access pass to go behind the scenes and see works in progress, to meet and hear from gifted story-tellers, creative visionaries and remarkable people behind our incredible success, and hopefully to come away awed and inspired as I am every day,” Iger said.

He also thanked the more than 2,00,000 men and women around the world who make The Walt Disney Company successful. “Our success as a company comes from the greatness of the people who work here. This particular expo is especially meaningful to me. For the first time, we will have the chance to show you the many opportunities 21st Century Fox offered us. Now, it’s still early days in the combination, but as you look around the expo, you will have a good sense of how many of the great brands and franchises will help us continue to raise the bar when it comes to telling great stories and delivering fantastic entertainment. We have already completely reorganised and repositioned the company for the future,” Iger said, adding that the company’s new directors who head the consumer businesses are focusing on giving people access to all of Disney’s story-telling, “library of shows and movies which just got a lot bigger, thanks to the Fox acquisition, as well as our recent releases and future films of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars”.

Iger also spoke of a rich collection of exclusive original content. “Over the last few months, I watched many hours of new content for Disney+, including all episodes of the highly anticipated Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. Everything I have seen so far has been exceptional, but you don’t want to take my word for it, you can see for yourselves. Now, when it launches on November 12, Disney+ will also offer 661 episodes of The Simpsons of 30 seasons, as well as 600 hours of stunning content from National Geographic. Plus, we are having plenty of great original Nat Geo content. Of course, our direct to consumer business also includes ESPN Plus which is already connecting millions of sports fans to fantastic content, including thousands of live sporting events, coupled with Hulu, our streaming service,” he said.

“Now, this is an extraordinary time for our company, an era of sweeping and profound change, really not just for our company but for the entertainment industry and the world as well. Some find the pace of change a bit daunting. Frankly, we find it exhilarating, and it inspires us to be more innovative and to raise the bar even higher on the quality and the variety of what we produce. Now, looking at all the opportunities we had, I can honestly say there has never been a better time to be The Walt Disney Company, or a better time to be a Disney fan. And this expo is our way of saying thank you to the biggest Disney fans in the world,” he declared.

Honouring Disney Legends

At the D23 Expo, Bob Iger continued a 32-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, honouring 12 outstanding personalities as the Disney Legends 2019, in recognition of their creativity and innovation and impact on the company. Actor Robert Downey Jr.; film-maker Jon Favreau (an important part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and director of The Lion King); performer Bette Midler and Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts were among those who were celebrated for their contribution to the Disney legacy. Other recipients of the honour were singer Christina Aguilera; Wing T Chao, who designed and developed mega projects at Disney parks and resorts worldwide; actor James Earl Jones (who has lent his voice to Darth Vader in Star Wars as well as Mufasa in The Lion King); director, choreographer and producer Kenny Ortega; Barnette Ricci, who brought to life parades, stage shows and state-of-the-art entertainment at Disney parks around the world; ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer; actor Ming-Na Wen, who is the voice of Mulan and Agent Melinda May on the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; and composer Hans Zimmer.

The Walt Disney Company, India is one of the leading film studios and film distributors in India; has a TV network with eight popular channels targeting kids, youth and families; offerings in the digital, interactive and games segment, brings adaptations of Broadway-style musicals to Indian stages and is the largest licensor in the consumer products space. It has core brands like Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars, and local brands UTV, bindass, Hungama, and offers content to Indian consumers across all age groups through multiple formats and platforms. 

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