This week's reading can be found here. I've decided to use an earlier version of the chapter originally suggested in the syllabus.
This week will focus primarily on the Disney Company. In the construction of the company, there is a merging, or converging, of media. Products market products; Disney products market other Disney products. Can you think of other companies that do this?
Some ways in which Disney cross promotes:
- television shows become parades at the Disney theme parks (High School Musical, for instance)
- movies become rides/movies sre integrated into existing rides (for instance, "Pirates of the Caribbean" was a ride which became a movie, elements of which were then integrated back into the ride)
- rides become movies (The Haunted Mansion)
- accessories (Mickey Mouse watches, for instance)
- costumes for youngsters
- vacations: 2 theme parks in the United States, 1 in Europe, 2, soon to be 3, in Asia
- cruise line
- entertainment becomes media for sale for home use
- the rarity of this media becomes a part of the experience (the notion of the “Disney Vault”)
From 2005-2008, Disney curated something called Disney VMK, or Virtual Magic Kingdom, an onlineenvironment similar to World of Warcraft. A player could collect prizes like virtual furniture for his or her online space, or costumes, or things like Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, items which exist in the real-life theme parks.
There is a continual loop of promotion. All areas of the company point to other areas, in terms of promotion.
What did you think of Pahl’s criticisms? The media-rich environment that Disney presents is interesting. I should be noted that there are various third-party additions to this kind of widespread promotion. These include:
- license holders (Walmart, Dollarama, etc.)
- fans (in the form of fan culture, podcasts, the D23 fan community, actually a first-party promoter)
- multiple television shows that are simply promotions for traveling to the parks
Is there a cultural identity which is worth preserving in the experience of Disney? Or is it too marred by consumerism?
Does the Disney worldview compete with Christianity?
Please note that your final paper needs to be 8 to 10 pages long, not 10 to 12 pages as it mentions in the syllabus.