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Disney and the Big Business of Make-Believe: From Silent Movies to the Streaming Wars


In late March 2023, Bob Iger was five months into his second term as CEO of the entertainment conglomerate The Walt Disney Company. Three years earlier, Iger had stepped down after a nearly 15-year run as CEO, handing the reins to longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek. Chapek's time as CEO was tumultuous, marred by $4 billion in losses for the Disney+ streaming platform, a plummeting share price, and discontented rumblings from activist investors. When the board fired Chapek, Iger found himself once again heading an entertainment colossus that had grown remarkably under his leadership. Disney's movies consistently ranked among the highest-grossing films, domestically and globally, and its theme parks and resorts were among the most popular tourist attractions on the planet. Disney also profited from a vast and complex array of merchandising and licensing deals. Yet its future success was far from guaranteed. Like all companies, Disney faced profound disruption from the digital revolution. Iger now had to make critical decisions about Disney's future in streaming, parks, and rising film-production costs--and find a more permanent successor ready to guide Disney into its next 100 years.




Amanda Starc, Craig Garthwaite, Theo Anderson

Date Published



Starc, Amanda, Craig Garthwaite, and Theo Anderson. Disney and the Big Business of Make-Believe: From Silent Movies to the Streaming Wars. Case 5-223-250.


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