Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Bob Iger, Repairman...
Someone call for a repairman?
That's figuratively what happened in 2005 when Robert Iger took over as the head of the Mouse. Though we don't want to put into our mind the image of Iger bent over a kitchen appliance with his butt-crack showing as we hear him banging on some broken pipes... that's essentially what he is. And what is happening.
You see, the last manager, Mr. Eisner, left the Mouse House in much need of repair. This is no job for the Maytag Repairman here... we got some serious work to get done and luckily for us, it looks like this Iger guy we called... he's capable of handling the job.
While Michael Eisner will be remembered as the one who saw Walt Disney Productions as something that needed to be exploited(he was right about this), the man who turned the Mouse into the Walt Disney Company, a global Goliath and transformed WDW into a huge entertainment mecca... Iger will be different.
The mistakes and problems of Eisner's last decade will be the foundation of most of Iger's domestic reputation. Instead of building a Third Gate for Anaheim or Fifth Gate for Orlando in the next decade, he'll set his eye on fixing much of what has gone wrong since the late 90's. DCA specifically, but WDW as well and the overseas tenants need some makeover and repair for Paris and Hong Kong also. If there is any place he will leave his legacy in regards to expansion, it's the Far East.
When Iger pulls off the expansion of HKDL in a few years, he's going to be looking inward and westward. Mainland China will be a prime prospect for expansion in the next decade. Further past China is the other emerging economy and growing middle-class of India. Both of these countries are prime areas for development for the Mouse. To a lesser degree, countries such as Singapore and several other Far East nations could see Disney properties(be they theme parks,DVC units or a mixture of both) pop up in the end of second decade of the 21st Century.
But while that's being planned, expect the cheery sound of hammers and saws and all manner of construction. The next five years are going to be feverishly busy. With DCA's Makeover providing the impetus for the inevitable others that will follow. From Disney's California Adventure to the important re-branding and remaking of Disney-MGM, Hong Kong Disneyland becoming a full day, must see park with attractions even state-side fans will want to see, or the finally, fully realized Second Gate that emerges in Paris... Bob Iger, repairman, is on the job.
And in a couple years we'll be able to get a look at his workmanship.