Disney is mostly a television company

According to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, individual box office flops like The Lone Ranger aren’t a huge problem for Disney because a majority of its revenue comes from its broadcast and cable television divisions. Cable is here to stay for the foreseeable future – as long as that’s true, Disney properties like ESPN and the Disney Channel will continue to do just fine: 

How Disney makes money

The movie business is a rotten thing. American audiences don’t go the movies every week, so they have to be lured with egregiously expensive marketing campaigns for a handful of tentpole movies that, if they blow up, can destroy quarterly earnings for the film division and take down careers. The TV business is somewhat the opposite. The subscription fee model (wherein a sliver of your cable bill goes straight to the networks’ pockets) guarantees that cable networks get paid with or without a “hit.”

“I was raped at Disney World and nobody cared”

Dana Wierzbicki was raped by a Disney World coworker after-hours. After figuring out the proper channels to go through to deal with the situation, she met with a counselor provided by the company. The (female!) counselor responded in pretty much the least helpful way imaginable:

I recounted everything that happened that night while the counselor stayed silent and seemed at least mildly sympathetic. When I told her we had been drinking, her face changed from “concerned” to “you made a mistake.”  Still, I told her, I said “no” the entire time and he never listened.  

The first thing she said to me was “Well, now you know not to be hanging around boys in the middle of the night. You know what they want.”

Take a few seconds and re-read that. Now let’s unpack it.

A certified counselor was insinuating that it was my fault that my coworker decided to rape me — as if I should have known better than to interact with any man after dark. Not only that, but she was advising me to approach every interaction with a man as if he is a potential rapist, including every man that works at Disney World. If I react to a man with anything less than hostility after sundown, whatever happens is my fault.

Netflix’s next market: children

Netflix signs exclusive deal for over 300 hours of original DreamWorks Animation content:

Netflix is to create new shows based on characters from DreamWorks’ feature films, while the studio will open its Class Media library which it acquired in 2012. Having found success with House of Cards and a new series of Arrested Development, Netflix is now looking to children’s shows in order to expand its content selection and cater for one of its most important demographics — although there is no word on whether we will see a new Shrek show or Kung Fu Panda mini-series.

Last year, the company announced it had signed an exclusive deal to bring content from Disney, Marvel, and Pixar movies to the service. Today’s announcement means it now has the two biggest animation studios on board. Netflix will begin airing its original series in 2014, adding animated movies The Croods, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman at the same time.

There’s already a ton of kid-friendly content available on Netflix, but having exclusive rights to hundreds of hours of animation from Disney and DreamWorks that has none of the commercials on Disney/Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network basically makes it the most attractive option for parents looking to keep their kids entertained.

EA Secures Star Wars Game Rights

Last month, Disney shut down LucasArts, leaving the Star Wars license in limbo. Last week, we were hit with another round of EA layoffs, with EA seemingly looking to put more stock into mobile gaming and dial back on core titles. Yesterday, those two pieces of news collided as EA announced exclusive rights to develop and publish new core Star Wars games in a multi-year contract.

The news comes from Gamasutra, who reveals that Visceral Games (Dead Space), DICE (Battlefield) and BioWare (Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic) will all be developing core games in the Star Wars universe.

From Gamasutra:

“The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay,” said EA Games label president Frank Gibeau.

While Disney will retain rights to publish games on mobile, social, and online platforms, and EA hasn’t announced which studios will be working on what types of games, we can definitely guess based on track records. I would guess that BioWare will be working on a KotOR-style game, DICE is probably working on a Battlefront followup, and Visceral is… well, I don’t like the idea of dismembering wookies, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Disney Shuts Down LucasArts

This is that time of year where, after revisiting their first quarter reports, many companies decide to “restructure” their makeup, much in the same way a victim of a zombie bite tries to “restructure” by severing the afflicted limb outright.

To that end, Disney has shut down LucasArts, the publishing house responsible for Star Wars game production, as well as seminal classics like Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle. From Game Informer:

After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.

Sad news, as always, but there’s a silver lining for gamers. Now that other studios are free to create Star Wars games and have them licensed by Disney, we may see a marked jump in quality in future Star Wars games. A Japanese-developed Star Wars title? It could happen. Heck, we could see Capcom take on Indiana Jones, for all we know.

Endless possibilities in the light of some tragic layoff news. That’s pretty much the game industry in the nuttiest of shells.