Friday, April 08, 2011

What is missing in the Shanghai Disney deal?

Image representing The Walt Disney Company as ...Image via CrunchBase
After a decade of talks (not to mention frustrations) Disney has signed a deal and broken ground this week for its entertainment park in Shanghai. Building the USD 4.4 billion park is going to take another five years. The Wall Street Journal gives here a good overview of the deal.

Unfortunately, the stories I have seen up to now did miss one point of serious trouble between Walt Disney and the huge variation of Chinese government agencies that have been involved in the deal making. Initially - and this was still the case a few years ago - Disney was eager to close also a media deal. We should not forget that Walt Disney is not only part of the entertainment industry, but also a huge media company.

Of course, nobody who is even a little bit familiar with the media in China could imagine that Walt Disney could operate as a media company in China. Other giants, like Rupert Murdock, Google and others have been trying to change the rules and regulations in China on media, or even comply with them.

From the fact that the media leg of Walt Disney is not even mentioned in the current media report, we can conclude that the US media firm has been trying unsuccessfully to blackmail the Shanghai government into a media and entertainment deal. Obvious, the prospect of such a park in mainland China was so important, it gave up on its media aspirations.

Walt Disney has lost much time over the past decade by trying to do the unfeasible. It looks that it took that loss now.
(Earlier published at my personal website here.)
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