Tag Archive: disney


Jimmy Pitaro

Jimmy Pitaro

Earlier today, Disney said what is likely not much of a shock to anyone – that it was handing over the reins of its interactive division to one of its two co-presidents, Jimmy Pitaro.

That means John Pleasants, who was the other co-president and was located in Silicon Valley, is leaving the kingdom, merging the games and media units under one leader in Los Angeles. Pleasants, as happens in these kinds of things, will be a strategic consultant to Disney Interactive.

The reorganization of the unit comes three years after Pitaro, a former Yahoo media exec, and Pleasants, who came to Disney via its acquisition of Playdom, were paired. Disney Interactive recently reported its second quarterly profit of $16 million on sales of $396 million, in what has been an uphill effort over the past decade for the entertainment giant.

Under the regime of former CEO Michael Eisner – many digital moons ago and which I covered since I am so dang old – Disney bought search engine Infoseek and tried to create a portal called Go.com. That failed, and was one of many efforts to define the media company’s Web goals. More recently, in 2008, Disney gathered most of its Internet properties under Steve Wadsworth.

Then came the pairing of Pitaro and Pleasants. And now, just Pitaro.

Disney said it “will move forward with a singular strategy for driving revenue and advertising across key platforms and franchises,” such as Disney Infinity – a big Pleasants project – and Club Penguin.

Geeks tend to have something of a love/hate relationship with Lucasfilm. Its namesake, the one and only George Lucas, brought us the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. However, he also brought us the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The news has just broken that Disney plans to acquire Lucasfilm for $4 billion in cash and stock. Not only that, but Star Wars Episode 7 is being planned for a 2015 release.

Disney has been on a real tear in recent years. After a decade of mediocre movie performance, Disney backed Pixar early on. It later bought the animation giant for $7.4 billion in 2006. Disney also got in on the super hero fad in 2009 when it bought Marvel for $4 billion. In this new Lucasfilm deal, Disney is paying about half that $4 billion in stock and half in cash. Lucasfilm has a single shareholder: George Lucas. I expect he’s planning some renovations to Skywalker ranch now.

Star Wars Disney

Discerning sci-fi fans that have been down on what George Lucas has done with the Star Wars franchise in the last 15 years will be happy to hear that Lucas is stepping away from the company’s day-to-day operation. Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of the new Disney-owned venture. Lucas won’t have any official decision making capacity, but is staying on as a “creative consultant.”

While the Star Wars prequels were not received terribly well, it’s still a little sad to see Lucas handing off the franchise. He’s part of history, and even with different people leading the development of a new Star Wars story, fans might never be happy. There is already an established storyline for the post-movie Star Wars universe as laid out by dozens of novels like the awesome Heir to the Empire trilogy. It’s hard to say if these tales will be honored or overwritten.

Make sure you keep an eye on coming developments as the first post-Lucas Star Wars movie takes shape. It’s an exciting time to be a geek.

via ABC News

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