In an investor’s conference call yesterday, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger offered some clarification on how the Star Wars brand will be brought into the Disney fold. For those wondering if Disney might just leave Lucasfilm and Star Wars as a separate brand from the main Disney brand, it does not appear as if that will be the case.
At the outset of the call Bob Iger recognized the value of the Star Wars franchise. Iger said, “When you look at all the franchises and IP ever created in the history of entertainment and rank them in terms of value, Star Wars is always at or near the very top of that list. It is the very definition of a franchise.”
When discussing the impact of Stars Wars on their product strategy, Iger said, “The footprint from consumer products, obviously will give us much more of a blend that enhances our relationship in the marketplace with retailers and with licensees as a for instance and just generally runs the profile of the brand. Lucas product by the way will be co-branded with Disney’s name on it.”
In addition to co-branding the Disney name on Star Wars action figures and toys, the same strategy will be used for the film division. Iger talked about how Pixar films is co-branded with Disney, which enhances both the Pixar and the Disney brand. In the case of Marvel Studios, Iger seemed to be acknowledging that the Marvel brand was growing strong on its own. Iger credited Marvel's growth with the “quality of their films, particularly the last three, Captain America, Thor, and obviously The Avengers.” However, Iger also pointed out that self-distribution was helping with Marvel. Iger said, “So when we take over the distribution of their films for instance and we are also the owner of the brand, we’re much more focused on growing the brand in the process than the third party distributors who distributed their product before were interested in.”
In regards to Lucasfilm in specific, Iger said, “The Star Wars brand I think basically doesn’t need much help, except obviously will I think benefit greatly from the release of a film. We intend in that case to co-brand as I mentioned just a few minutes ago Disney, Lucas or Disney, Star Wars in some different forms. And I think that’s again another opportunity like Pixar to enhance both the Star Wars brand and the Disney brand.”