Douglas T. Parrish has been named senior vice president, technology and chief information officer for the Walt Disney Internet Group. In his new position, Parrish is responsible for overseeing the technology platform, infrastructure and applications for The Walt Disney Co.'s Internet properties. This includes networking infrastructure, Web hosting and serving, applications and tool development, and advanced and new technologies development.
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Sanjeev Lamba has been named vice president, International, at Disney Interactive. Lamba will oversee development and management of Disney Interactive's business in territories outside North America, including Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Japan. Lamba has been with The Walt Disney Company since 1993. He joins Disney Interactive from Disney Consumer Products in Japan, where he served as vice president, licensing and marketing. Prior to that, he was director of marketing for Disney Consumer Products' licensed business in the Asia Pacific region.
In an announcement made June 20, 2001, by Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO, and Robert A. Iger, president and COO, of The Walt Disney Company, Peter Schneider will step down as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios to start a new Broadway theater production and investment company funded in part by Disney.
Gerard Raiti goes behind the scenes of Disney's latest masterpiece, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Think you've seen all the House of Mouse has to offer? Think again as Disney raises the bar.
According to industry sources and other published reports, Walt Disney Co. is planning cuts in both jobs and salaries at both their Burbank, California and Orlando, Florida Animation Feature studios. Coming on the heels of Disneys recent announcement of company-wide layoffs and staff reductions totaling 4,000 employees, these cuts further illustrate the fiscal realities of both the increasing cost and decreasing profitability of the studios current animated feature production unit.
DIRECTV Latin America announced on Friday, April 6, 2001 the official debut of the Disney Channel to all DIRECTV subscribers in Brazil. The Disney Channel is a new, 24-hour Portuguese television network with entertainment for kids and families created specially for the Brazilian market. The Disney programming block includes exclusive and original productions, a two-hour live, daily show, movies, animated and live-action series, concerts and special events.
TV-Loonland's CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7, produced by Spains Neptuno) has been sold to Disney U.K. for a spring 2002 delivery. After creating quite a buzz at MIPCOM Junior 2000, Munich's TV-Loonland announced at MIP TV that it had sold the pre-school animated series relating the experiences of a curious calf named Connie to Disney's U.K. arm. TV-Loonland has also had Disney success with their live-action series IN A HEARTBEAT.
Walt Disney Co. Latin America has hired Marcos Rosset as managing director, Brazil. He will head all of the company's businesses in the territory, including the Portuguese language Disney Channel that debuts on April 5, 2001. For the past 15 years, Rosset served as managing director of CIC Video, a co-venture between Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. There he oversaw all retail businesses, including interactive consumer products and rental/sell-through video.
Former Walt Disney senior VP for worldwide anti-piracy, Judy Denenholz, has filed a US$20 million lawsuit, alleging she was terminated after refusing to sign a fraudulent IRS audit. The suit also alleges that Disney's assistant general counsel Peter Nolan sexually harassed Denenholz since she joined the company in 1981. The suit claims that Disney's general counsel Lou Meisinger held a grudge over legal bills before he became Disney's general counsel. In 1990, Denenholz advised Disney that Meisinger's law firm was overcharging the studio for their anti-piracy work.
Walt Disney Co. has announced that its past decision to scrap its Go.com portal has been reversed. However, the Go.com portal will be a much more pared down version with Web searches handled by former rival GoTo.com. The Go.com home page now serves as a low maintenance starting point for the Walt Disney Internet Group's other sites like Disney.com, ABC.com and Movies.com. In the formation of Go.com, Disney purchased Infoseek and their search engine. Currently, Disney is looking to sell off assets associated with Infoseek.
Disney has placed an order for 13-episodes of a new animated series for "Disney's One Saturday Morning," entitled TEAMO SUPREMO. The new Walt Disney Television Animation show will join the ABC line-up in the fall of 2001. The series will follow a trio of pint-sized heroes -- Captain Crandall, Rope Girl and Skate Lad as they battle the forces of evil and homework. The series' style is based on the bright, colorful themes of the mid-1960s, the comic book-style of the live-action BATMAN and GREEN HORNET television series and the architectural concepts popularized at the 1964 World's Fair.
The Walt Disney Co. has purchased the rights to Winnie the Pooh for an amazing $350 million. Former rights holders Westminster School and the Garrick Club will receive $88 million each and the Royal Literary Society will gain $132 million. Disney first licensed the rights to Winnie in the 1960s and has been paying twice-yearly royalties to the owners. Disney will hold the copyright until it expires in 2026. The last relative of POOH creator A. A. Milne to hold a share in the copyright was Christopher Robin Milne.
Disney has signed a new licensing deal with Coca-Cola to place Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters on a new line of juices. No financial terms have been released for this 15-year marketing deal. However, Disney will receive royalty payments for Coke's use of all Disney characters on packages, in-store promotions and advertising. The first drinks, "Mickey's X-treme Coolers" and "Pooh's 100 Acre Wood Apple-Berry," will be sold in supermarkets in single-serve boxes and multi-serve plastic bottles.
With the new Toy Story: The Ultimate Toy Box and Fantasia Anthology, Disney has clearly pulled ahead of the competition, putting together expansive bonus selections and features to showcase these great animated features. Gerard Raiti reports.
Walt Disney Studios has promoted Dean Hallett to executive VP and chief financial officer. Hallett, an 11-year veteran of Disney, previously served as senior VP and chief financial officer of the studio. He assumed that role in April, following the departure of Rob Moore. Hallett will continue to oversee all financial, strategic and operational aspects of the firm. As executive VP, he will help develop and expand strategy and management. Hallett joined Disney in 1990 as a manager in the corporate management audit department.
* Wednesday, March 7, 2001. Brentwood, California, U.S.A.
TEAM X Awards highlight public service announcements on tobacco awareness created by students. The event is organized by the Los Angeles Unified School District and AnimAction, Inc. Thirty-three awards will be presented to middle school students. Sponsors include Kids WB!, Fox Kids, Cartoon Network, Disney and Toon Disney. For more information contact AnimAction at: Tel.: (323) 464-1181; Fax: (323) 464-1191; E-mail: email@example.com; or Web: www.animaction.com.
New reports have the Walt Disney Co. throwing its name into the hat to help bail out German producer EM.TV & Merchandising by purchasing its Jim Henson Co. EM.TV acquired the Muppet makers last February in a cash and stock transaction valued at US$680 million. However, rumors have voiced former president and CEO Brian Henson's disapproval over the deal due to the devaluation of the company's stock. In the past, when the Jim Henson Co. was privately held, Disney and the Muppet masters had signed a licensing deal with each other that brought Henson-owned characters to Disney theme parks.
Walt Disney Co. has announced that it will close down the Walt Disney Internet Group and its Go.com portal. As a result, 400 out of nearly 2,000 employees will be laid off. Shares in the Walt Disney Internet Group will be converted in to Disney common stock. As a result, Disney will take a US$790 million second-quarter charge, or 37 cents per share, for the issuing of 8.1 million new shares in the entertainment mega-firm. In addition, Disney will also take a $25-$50 million charge for severance packages and other additional costs.
The Disney Channel has announced that it will produce its first animated sitcom entitled THE PROUD FAMILY. The series will chronicle the experiences of a 14-year-old African-American girl named Penny and her family. Co-executive producer Bruce Smith (SPACE JAM) created the series. Ralph Farquhar, co-creator of the UPN live-action comedy MOESHA, will serve as the other executive producer. The voice cast will include Kyla Pratt (LOVE & BASKETBALL) as Penny, Paula Jai Parker (THE WAYANS BROS.) as Trudy Proud and Tommy Davidson (IN LIVING COLOR) as Oscar Proud.
Toon Disney, the all-Disney cartoon channel, has announced their first original series, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. The series will bow on the cable network in fall 2001. In the show, Tarzan (Michael T. Weiss, THE PRETENDER) will be reunited with his animal family and must defend the jungle from the encroachment of man. Other characters in the series will be Jane (Olivia d' Abo, THE WONDER YEARS), Professor Porter (Jeff Glen Bennett, THE WEEKENDERS), the well-meaning ape Terk (April Winchell, RECESS, PEPPER ANN) and Tantor the elephant (Jim Cummings, THE TIGGER MOVIE).
Disney's initiative to release their new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE in Spanish to theaters in Los Angeles has failed. Disney decided to place a Spanish dubbed GROOVE in theaters in 16 Latino communities alongside the English version [AWN 01/02/01]. This effort was the first time that Disney released a film in English and Spanish in the States at the same time. For years Disney has released Spanish dubbed or subtitled prints of their films to theaters that have requested them.
Walt Disney has decided to release their new animated feature THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE in 16 Los Angeles theaters dubbed in Spanish. The experiment is part of Disney's plan to attract Latino buying power, which is estimated to reach US$452 billion nationwide next year. For years Disney has released Spanish dubbed or subtitled prints of their films to theaters that have requested them. However, most of those films were on their third run after they had been released in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries.