Search form

A Closer Look: As a Safe Investment for Families, Disney Has to Overdo It

On January 8, 1999 the Walt Disney Company recalled 3.4

million copies of "The Rescuers" video release due to two

objectionable non-consecutive frames in the 110,000-frame

movie...

On January 8, 1999 the Walt Disney Company recalled 3.4

million copies of "The Rescuers" video release due to two

objectionable non-consecutive frames in the 110,000-frame

movie. The frames in question featured the photographic image

of a naked female in a background image inserted as a gag by

a cameraman when the movie was originally filmed in the 1970s.

The 1992 home video release of the animated film didn't use

the original print and therefore didn't have the objectionable

images. Under ordinary viewing circumstances, the two images

could not be seen since they advance at the rate of 30 frames

per second on video but were clearly visible when

freeze-framed. The incident was rather harmless, and generated

more reaction from the press than from customers. But Disney

needed to keep its promise to families that they can trust and

rely on the Disney brand to provide the finest in family

entertainment. Therefore, Disney immediately announced that

customers who had bought the video since its new release could

exchange it. Brand image control is a constant task, and

Disney has always been very careful about it. However, this is

going to be a much bigger challenge with the corporation's,

and everybody else's, activities on the Internet -- Disney's

Buena Vista Internet Group oversees Web sites that include

ABC.com, Disney.com, ABCNEWS.com, ESPN.com and Family.com.

Disney has developed new means/tools to control this new media.

In October 1999, Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of

business development and operations for Disney's Buena Vista

Internet Group (BVIG), was appointed to the COPA Commission on

Child Online Protection. COPA is tasked with identifying and

studying technological or other methods to reduce and restrict

access to harmful material for minors on the Internet

(AF 10/26/99). This announcement came a little more than a

month after the arrest of Patrick Naughton, executive vice

president of products at Infoseek Corp., the Internet media

site which is part of Disney's Go Network, on September 16,

1999. Naughton was charged with interstate travel with the

intention of having sex with a minor (AF 09/21/99). This

"incident" might have accelerated Disney's move to continue to

secure its brand image as a safe destination for kids,

regardless of the medium.

Tags 
randomness