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Market analysis of the entertainment company Disney

Walt Disney marketing Strategies are highly based on these two words. They stop for nothing. It’s a closed loop of never-ending advertisement and publicity. Its like a machine without a stop button and therefore they continue to add value to their offerings. The Disney media house is one of the largest around the globe and is successful in keeping its audience hooked up at all times. They adopt all means of promotions, right from print media to online games and websites, to TV programs and licensed merchandise. Brand Disney Disney believes in constant interaction with its customer through send direct mail pieces from the past by offering customers variety.

Disney promotion is intended to keep its products, in your mind. So when it's time for a vacation, you go to Disney Land. But as Disney's occupies its own  place in your consciousness, it will always be an option where other holiday spots do not enjoy this preference.

Media companies, around the globe have been successful in exerting their clout by grouping together to reach out a big share of target audience. Their actions are backed by show-endorsement on the corporate belt. It is the impact of cross-promotion and high frequency of airing the show numerous times a day, on its channel, that- “Disney can hammer a show into the public consciousness without having to expend much effort on the show itself”. Consequently, “Hannah Montana” is successfully publicized on a massive scale and adolescent females are charmed by her double identities. Promotion strategy pays off well for the Walt Disney Corporation as the merchandise sale is doubled (toys, stationary, etc.) for both the characters.

Hypothesis

Walt Disney Corporation uses two marketing tools:

Cross-promotion and

Narrowcasting (niche marketing)

To economise on its television shows such as “Hannah Montana,” by influencing the tweens, rather than merely, entertaining them.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Overview

The review would emphasize on background information, media strategies and marketing techniques to bring out Disney’s impact in media communication. The impression will be that Disney’s specific agenda for its target audience (young girls from 9yearas- 12 yers ) is to increase its merchandise sales. Moreover, the TV show “Hannah Montana” was built, precisely for selling licensed goodies via Disney Consumer Products.

Disney Channel is a major cable network for kids, and “Hannah Montana” is the most watched program among the tweens. Disney channel uses this asset to its full advantage for cross-selling through its programs, movies and products.

The channel does not have paid advertisements yet it is under constant marketing targeted at children (preteen girls majorly). This literature review will review and analyze the techniques used by marketers to reach that specific demographic. Emphasis will be on Disney’s incessant marketing practices, cross promotion tactics, content management done distinctively for franchise fabrication and its impact on preteen girls.

Marketing Techniques

Cross promotion or barter marketing is Disney’s pre-dominant marketing technique. Media Literacy scholar Art Silverblatt puts this as presenting media programs “for the sole purpose of promoting other holdings within the corporate empire”. Instead of the regular commercials, Disney audience is subjected to Disney’s own merchandise, music, movies (CDs, DVDs), and its online sites. The viewer is unaffected by this promotion strategy. It is not only the publicity for its products and media outlets, but a close observation reveals that Disney’s stars are used for announcing Disney’s upcoming events, releases concerts ,online games, etc to the audience.

Narrowcasting is also used by Disney channel to reach out to the preteen girls demography. It is essentially a media tool to direct the messages at a specific group of people such that they have some commonality between them. It can be on the basis of gender, age, interests, etc. Broadcasting is used only for mass audience in order to identify them. Disney’s focus on narrowcasting enables the sponserers to tailor each program according to the particular group, which in this case are the tween girls.

As mentioned earlier, only a few media houses control the numerous media outlets and Disney is one of the top five media organizations, a group which also includes Newsgroup, AOL-Time Warner, Universal Vivendi , and Viacom. Thus it serves as an optimistic opportunity for all five, to cross promote various shoes and merchandise across maximum platforms.

Consumer is, unknowingly, viewing these cross promotions and messages.

Franchise-Building

Disney is a pioneer when it comes to commodi-tizing the enterntainment media. Steven Ekstract, publisher of trade magazine License Global, said, “Disney creates brands. And they tapped into the zeitgeist of the tween girl marketplace”. Seventeen magazine’s entertainment director, Carissa Rosenberg, said, “Miley Cyrus herself is a brand, not just Hannah Montana” . Other successful Disney franchises are “High School Musical,” “Cheetah Girls,” and “Camp Rock”.

Lizzie McGuire was Disney’s first commercial tween success which was immediately made into a movie, retail-clothing, and merchandise. In 2006, it led to creation of an even bigger multi-million brand name “Hannah Montana” for the girls between 6-12 years of age.

“Hannah Montana” merchandise consists of fancy dolls, kid’s guitars, clothes and apparels, night-wears, accessories, room décor, costumes, footwear, personal care products, video games, board games, stationeries, bags, books, music CDs, lunch boxes, notebooks, and breakfast cereal (Disney Consumer Products). Disney’s licensed merchandise topped the sales chart in 2007, with sales in excess of $26 billion. The next closest top-selling brands were merely tagging at $7 billion and $6 billion

Disney has also done some collaborative reforms for children who have yet not got admission to elementary school. The Disney Princesses are just one example of licensed characters directed at the preschoolers, there are many others which fall in this category like Woody and Buzz from the Toy Story films and Lightning McQueen from the hit movie Cars. This serves as an excellent advertising tactics for parents and their kids to watch child-friendly TV shows which marks the beginning of the merchandise promotion campaign.

Media Theories

It was an observational learning by Albert Bandura’s that said that individual behaviour is a mimicry of what they see and perceive from others, around them. Moreover, he says that people’s behaviour is influenced through examples. And this theory is most dominant in case of children. For example if a child watches her mother praising his brother for some good deed, he will try to imitate the good behaviour , similarly, a punishment for a wrong deed would stop the kid from committing that mistake.

Hannah Montana creators have created a dual character, a character within a character. One is an ordinary, next-door girl character of Miley Stuart who is a teenager living with her father. Miley, suddenly transforms into a mega rock star Hanaah Monatana overnight. But the click is in the hidden 2nd identity of Miley, which only her close friends and family know about.

The show in interspersed with numerous Hannah Montana concerts, packed with crowd of several lacks, immense popularity of her music and her signature style- Long Blonde wig and accessories. And the same is seen in the real world, where parents stand in line to buy Miley Stuart/ Hannah Montana concert tickets, and spend a lot more on the merchandise.

And this doesnot stop here, Disney cross-promotes its characters on other shows aired on the same cable network- example: Hannah Monatana in a guest appearance at “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”— The show acts as a catalyst in the career of the Disney star Hannah Monatana, it gives a strong boost to her musical career in guise of the daily show. Disney releases the music Cds and DVDs which are advertised during the breaks and this cycle repeats itself again and again. Clearly, Disney knows exactly what it is doing.

Social Cognitive theory of Bandura is applicable to Disney’s intentions with respect to their programs and shows. They bank on the consumer psychology of copying their surrounding behavioural patterns which makes them both , the product and producer of the environment. The theory is more strongly seen in children as they tend to copy their family and friends. A 9 year old girl will like Hannah Montana more if her best friend likes her too.

Media Effects

Media houses have been successful in moulding children into a big money providing sources. They have become an important consumer in their profiles as they continue to spend money on branded products, with both hands. In 1968, children aged 4-12 years spent approximately $2.2 billion of their own money, but that figure reached in excess of $51.8 billion by 2006 , with major changes being observed in the 1990s. This expensive trend has also honed the economic status of the parents of these children.

A child is introduced to a brand bandwagon by the age of 2-3 years (example: cerelac is term for cereal), which gradually become a part of their lifestyle and their identity. By the time he reached the age of 5, he acquires all attributes of a consumer who stands for brand loyalty and judges one brand against the other. The key factor lies in the fact that the market will be under who ever makes the 1st move to tap the potential of this demography.

The aim of endorsing products to children are “to directly seek children as customers, to work indirectly on parents through children’s ‘pester power,’ to imprint the younger generation with positive brand associations”. And these goals are easier to attain as the kids are exceptions when it comes to evaluating the amount of discretionary incomes they own. Thus , they serve as gullible targets for the marketers.

Walt Disney was a sharp man and it did not take long for him to realize that his DisneyLand theme park is not only a sole entertainment hub, but it also had the potential to be the purchase point for food and licensed merchandise. Although this is not a secret any more and now the critics have observed and said that Disney parks are now more about minting money from food and products than pure innocent fun.

Conclusion

The hypothesis to be ascertained in this research says that Narrowcasting and Cross promotion are the two marketing tools, which have been tactfully used by Disney to promote and publicise its in-house products and programs. Hannah Monatana is one such show which is being used to sell the licensed merchandise to the preteens rather than solely entertain them. Primary research will be conducted and analysed, along with a comprehensive study on the Disney channel Programming. The incidents and traits of narrowcasting and cross promotion will be emphasized and examined to reveal the true motives and the impact of such marketing tactics.

METHODOLOGY & DATA REPORTING

Section I: Sample Gathering and Background

The main source of content analysis for Hannah Montana were the in between commercial breaks and the show itself. They were scrutinized for patterns of narrowcasting and cross promotions. Apart from these, the publicity of licensed merchandise were also considered as the Hypothesis of this paper suggests that Disney uses its programming ventures for cross promotion and narrowcasting of its products and not solely for the amusement and fun of the innocent tweens. Hannah Montana is a kid-series that aims at preteen girls of the 6-14 years age group. The show circles around a normal school going girl, Miley who is a usual teenager and stays with her dad. But she also has a secret night life where she’s a block buster music star called Hannah Montana, someone whom every young girl aspires to be. No one knows this secret but her father and her close friends.

Miley is a low profile character at school and has only two close friends to hang out with at school. They are shunned by all as they are nothing extra ordinary although everyone loves Hannah Montana. Miley undergoes a complete makeover to transform into Hanaah by donning a blonde wig and loud accessories. Only if she told her secret in public, that she would become the most wanted personality at her school

The story was observed from 6 randomly chosen episodes and during each one of them, 2 promotion commercials were analysed amounting to a total of 12.

Section II: Content Analysis

Table 1: Summary of “Hannah Montana” Episodes Viewed on the Disney Channel

Day Aired Time Aired

Episode Title

Time Aired

Mon. 14/03/2011

It’s My Party and I’ll Lie If I Want To

9:00 pm (IST)

Tue. 15/03/2011

Grandmas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow

Up To Play Favorites

5:00 pm (IST)

Tue. 15/03/2011

Oh Say, Can You Remember the Words?

5:30 pm (IST)

Tue. 15/03/2011

You Didn’t Say It’s Your Birthday

6:00 pm (IST)

Tue. 15/03/2011

He Ain’t A Hottie, He’s My Brother

6:30 pm (IST)

Sat. 19 /03/2011

The Idol Side of Me

9:30 pm (IST)

This sample consists of 6 episodes of 30 minutes duration from TV series- HANNAH MONTANA (Disney network.) dated March 14,15 and 19

Table 2: Promotional Breaks During “Hannah Montana” Episodes

Date/Time of

Episode

What Was Being Promoted?

Category

At least one Disney Personality Featured?

14/03/2011 - 9:00 PM

Disney TV series “Suite life of Zack and Cody ”

TV Series

Yes

14/03/2011 - 9:00 PM

New Disney TV series “Jonas”

TV Series

Yes

15/03/2011 - 5:00 PM

New Disney TV movie

Parent Trap

Movie

Yes

15/03/2011 - 5:00 PM

Disney Web site

Disneydressup.com

Web Site

Yes

15/03/2011 - 5:30 PM

Movie trailer for Disney/Pixar

upcoming filmTangled

Movie

Yes

15/03/2011- 5:30 PM

Disney TV movie Parent Trap

Movie

Yes

15/03/2011- 6:00 PM

Music video for song featured

in movie High school musical

Music/Movie

Soundtrack

Yes

15/03/2011- 6:00 PM

New Disney TV series “Suite life of Zack and Cody ”

TV Series

Yes

15/03/2011- 6:30 PM

Disney TV movie Parent Trap

Movie

Yes

15/03/2011- 6:30

PM New Disney TV series “Suite life of Zack and Cody ”

TV Series

Yes

19/03/2011 - 9:30 PM

“Cheetah Girls” feature

Other

No

19/03/2011 - 9:30 PM

New Disney TV movie

Tangled

Movie

Yes

The sample is a mixed bag and consists of commercials shown in random order between the episodes that were mentioned earlier.

The table shows that 11 out of 12 odd commercials, was based on some or the other Disney Star promoting the brand DISNEY.

Table 3: Summary of Number of Promotions Featuring Disney Personalities

Is Disney Personality In Promotion?

Raw Number

Percentage

Yes

11

91.7%

No

1

8.3%

Other

0

0.0%

Cannot Code

0

0.0%

TOTAL

12

100.0%

Table 4: Summary of Number of Disney Personalities Featured In Each Promotion

Number of Personalities

Raw Number

Percentage

Zero

1

8.3%

1-2

5

41.7%

3-4

6

50.0%

4+

0

0.0%

Other

0

0.0%

Cannot Code

0

0.0%

TOTAL

12

100.0%

The promotions showed 3-5 Disney stars in more than half of them and only 8% did not feature a Disney star.

Table 5: Summary of the Type of Disney Interest Being Promoted

Category

Raw Number

Percentage

TV Series

4

33.3%

Movie

5

41.8%

Music/Movie Soundtrack

1

8.3%

Web Site

1

8.3%

Cannot Code

1

8.3%

TOTAL

12

100.0%

Of the various Disney interests promoted during breaks, about one-third were for other Disney Channel television series, and almost 42 percent were for Disney films. A Web site promoting the Disney Channel television series “Suite Life On Deck” accounted for 8 percent, while music from a Disney movie soundtrack also made up 8 percent of the promotions analyzed.

Table 6: Summary of Number of Times Each Promotion Aired

Promotion

Related Merchandise

Times Aired

Percentage

“Suite life of Zack and Cody”

yes

1

8.3%

“Jonas”

yes

3

25.0%

Tangled

Yes

2

16.7%

Disneydressup.com

yes

1

8.3%

Trailer for cheetah girls

yes

1

8.3%

Parent Trap

yes

2

16.7%

Music video from movie High school musical

yes

1

8.3%

“cheetah girls”

no

1

8.3%

TOTAL

12

100.0%

There were eight different campaigns, six episodes of "Hannah Montana.”Two Promotions twice, while one of the campaign aired on three occasions.

The other showed each time for the period span of six episodes.

Table 7: Summary of Promotions That Have Ties to Licensed Merchandise

Ties to Licensed

Merchandise

Raw Number

Percentage

Yes

11

91.7%

No

1

8.3%

TOTAL

12

100.0%

An analysis of the two promotions says that there are eleven related products such as DVD, CD, clothes games, books and video. However, the goods was not mentioned during the

Advertisement.

Table 8: Summary of Gender of Disney Personalities Featured In Promotions

Gender

Raw Number

Percentage

Male

16

59.3%

Female

9

33.3%

Fictional/Animated

2

7.4%

TOTAL

27

100.0%

Of Disney characters used in presentations, 59 %were male, 33% were females and more than 7% were animated characters.

Table 9: Summary of Age of Disney Personalities Featured In Promotions

Age

Raw Number

Percentage

Child (5-8)

0

0.0%

Tween (9-12)

0

0.0%

Teenager (13-18)

21

77.8%

Young Adult (19-24)

3

11.1%

Adult (25+)

1

3.7%

Cannot Code

2

7.4%

TOTAL

27

100.0%

Disney personalities consisted of an overwhelming majority were teenagers, or about 78 percent of the total. Young adults were included in 11 percent of the promotions, and only about 4 percent of the adult appeared in more than 25 years.

Section III: Tendency

Linkert scale was used to determine the features and personality of several Disney stars that appeared in the advertisements.

The traits are documented in the table given below

Table 10: Summary of Disney Personalties’ Characteristics/Traits

Very

Somewhat

Average

Somewhat Not

Not At All

Cannot

Code

Total

Popular

2

5

0

0

0

20

27

Attractive

14

3

2

0

1

7

27

Cool

14

3

2

0

1

7

27

Trendy

1

7

0

0

1

18

27

Thin

1

7

14

0

0

5

27

Happy

6

15

0

2

0

4

27

Confident

15

6

2

0

0

4

27

TOTAL

53

51

20

2

3

60

189

%

28.1%

26.9%

10.6%

1.1%

1.6%

31.7%

100.0%

There were 12 Disnet Stars that appeared in total of 27 ads. Likert scale was used to record the features. Based on the analysis of the raw data given, it was determined that  more than 55%  showed some positive signs. 

For example, 14 of the 27 were coded as “very cool,” and 15 of the 27 were “somewhat happy.” Additionally, 10.6 percent displayed average traits (14 of 27 were of average thinness). Only 2.7 percent displayed somewhat negative or negative traits (only one of

the 27 was coded “not at all attractive, cool, and trendy”)

Character Traits Analysis

This segment shows diagrammatic- graphical representation of the data gathered and analyzed for the characteristics that were given in table 10. The pie charts show the traits displayed by characters from Disney movies as apercentage of the total number of characters analyzed. Properties have been observed in connection with the hypothesis, and therefore were examined for this pilot research study.

Popularity: 7.4% were very popular while majority could not be coded.

Attractiveness: Majority of the Stars are attractive and smart

Fashion and trend quotient seems to be unclear about these stars as majority could not come to a definite answer

The Disney stars were moderately thin and a fair majority of the viewers thought that it was appropriate for their role and life.

The stars are observed to be really confident with almost 55% majority.

DATA ANALYSIS

The only purpose of this pilot study is to test the hypothesis of right, which says that Disney is using his television program to sell their products at home, through the limited production and the cross. The case is an important reference in terms of the objectives of Disney pre-teen innocent, in order to increase sales and thus a more subtle marketing strategy and tactics of advertising regularly paid.

The road to the exploration involved the observation of the random sample to support the hypothesis. In addition, during commercials advertising deals have been studied and documented for the extraction of data to study the proposal, the program has analyzed the reasons to determine whether there was evidence to support the hypothesis. More importantly, disruption of promotion during the fair has been examined and documented those models. Since Disney Channel has not paid advertising, breaks in programming are used to cross promote other interests of Disney. 

Younger viewers programming on the network cannot see this as a form of marketing. Therefore, this practice can mislead viewers to think about cross-promotion is just one part of the program.  

The literature review for this pilot study assessed social learning theory of Albert Bandura, who says that people imitate the behaviour patterns and actions of others based on the observation of other individuals. This observational learning is more common among children and occurs when there is real or perceived reward behaviour. 

For Disney, the producers of “Hannah Montana” have created a character in another character. The teenager normal, normal, young Miley Stewart, played by Miley Cyrus, is an average girl by day but transforms into rock star Hannah Montana by night. 

However, she keeps her identity a secret pop star, with more than just their friends and family knew of his double life. 

In the show, fans flock to see Hannah Montana concert, buy their music, and even imitate the pop stars to dress like the princess of pop. The same applies, in fact, with parents rushing to buy tickets for the concert Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus and spend money in all the "Hannah Montana". Viewers are exposed to the madness of the character Hannah Montana in the program, and repeat the actual behavior, when a new Hannah Montana CD is issued or a concert tour is announced. 

In content analysis, a small sample of “Hannah Montana” episodes was chosen at random, and two breaks in each episode to promote analysis. A book of codes 

created to examine whether a Disney character appeared in advertisements, and 

determine the age and sex of the personality. Also, if there were a Disney character used to promote, it was determined whether there was a bond of goods traded in the interest of Disney. Trends, such as freshness, popularity and trends, we analyzed the personality to see if there was a pattern among the types of actors in the Disney spots. 

For example, a promotion for a new television series, "Suite life of Zack and Cody" was tested three times because of the random sampling technique. The promotion included a group produced by Disney, Zack and Cody, which are popular among their peers that the recipients of "Hannah Montana". The stars of the new program brothers, who work in the program. Each of the two brothers is attractive, and seems to be fashionable, popular, and cool in the promotion. This might suggest the deliberate marketing of Disney "cool" for tweens to promote other Disney TV series. By the way, the Zack and Cody appeared on the opening act for Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus "Best of Both Worlds" tour, which began in late 2007. 

The models can be found in this pilot study suggests two things: 1) Disney uses to market its teen programming during pauses in the promotion of "Hannah Montana" to target girls aged 6-14 years, and 2) even if no advertising Payment is on Disney Channel, there seems to be constant marketing for other companies through Disney's young audience. If the results of this small show held in a large trial is likely that the hypothesis presented in this pilot project. 

Secondary research also tends to support the hypothesis. As indicated in the review of the literature of this study, the three main objectives of marketing to children "to look directly at children as customers, to work indirectly with parents through the children" to disturb, "[e] to print the younger generation positive associations with the brand . Moreover, the achievement of these goals is made easier for the seller, because the amount of “discretionary income” children is present .In essence; the sellers want to turn children into consumers. 

Moreover, even if there are more media to choose from, only a few large companies that control them . Disney is one of five major news organizations, a group that also includes newsgroups, AOL-Time Warner, Vivendi Universal and Viacom .This creates opportunities for media conglomerates to cross promote programs and products across many platforms.

This means that cross-promotion for consumers to receive marketing messages constantly, whether they realize it or not .This seems to be the marketing technique of traditional trade more hidden because people cannot understand why cross-promotion. 

Moreover, the public may not realize the extent of the holdings of the Disney company and therefore cannot understand this marketing strategy. Celebrities are used in traditional advertising, paid regularly, but this type of marketing is increasingly clear that the cross-promotion. 

This systematic literature review also revealed that the product tie-ins have created consumers of children. Younger children are spending their money, the money from their parents, or both, in the name of branded merchandise .During the decade of 1990, the direct cost of children has tripled in the United States, and has greatly increased over the past 30 years .In 1968, children aged 4-12 years has spent about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars of his money, but the number reached over 51.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2006 .Along with spending their money, children are increasingly shape the spending habits of their parents. 

Conclusion and Recommendation

Although it is difficult to create a network in mind, models and cross-promotion

Narrowcasting presented in the pilot study showed the Disney Channel to use their own airwaves to market their products to children. Further studies are needed to decide such marketing tactics should be regulated or if the media giant, pushing the envelope, which is currently permitted

If anything can be changed in this study, it would be the will focus on the Disney Channel, in general, rather than a specific TV program. This can help determine if this is a model across the board or specific to a single program. In addition, more attention is paid to the concept of limited circulation. While this was part of the cases, little has been done during the content analysis to determine if the technique is in use, looking beyond the age of Disney characters. 

This pilot study should be extended to a larger scale to analyze further the interests of Disney, the media, such as movies, web pages, cartoons, movies and games. 

If the results of this small place in a research study suggests that Disney is more worried about the marketing of products and brand name of what is to entertain an audience. The results of content analysis, it seems that there are a pattern in the way of Disney promotes their interests through various forms of media. For example, Disney Web sites are promoted on its cable network, Disney and the merchandise is sold on Web sites. 

Although this pilot study suggests that the Disney cross-promotion tactics used to sell all their interests in the media, it is unlikely that the media conglomerate just to do it. If a study was conducted in Viacom, for example, it would be interesting to see if these patterns exist in all media platforms. Knowing what a few companies control most all media is likely to lead to think that this is true. However, unlike the Disney Channel is not paid advertising in the media owned by Viacom targets children and adolescents, as the cable networks Nickelodeon, Nicktoons Network, and Noggin. A comprehensive review involving several different media owned by media conglomerates may identify different patterns as they exist.

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