Of course, Bird, who reports to Disney Chairman-Chief Executive Robert Iger and is tasked with overseeing growth opportunities for the company outside the United States, has used more traditional methods to grow Disney’s operations in both developed and emerging markets.
During his tenure, the entertainment empire has launched free-to-air Disney channels in Russia, Turkey and Spain; reached 250 million consumers in India by acquiring one of that country’s premier media and entertainment companies, UTV; and set up Japan’s first foreign-owned channel targeting women and families, Dlife.
“Whether we’re showing films in remote parts of African or considering approaches for a new Disneyland theme park somewhere, it’s all part of the mission to take our family entertainment global,” Bird said.
He oversees Disney offices around the world, serving all of the company’s business lines –including retail stores, TV channels and a cruise line – and said he spends more time globetrotting than he does at his Burbank office. He said it’s important that those foreign offices all have a unique philosophy representing their countries rather than just the corporate brand.
“You need to integrate yourself into the social fabric of each place,” he said. “Walt was a great traveler, too. He took a lot of stories from European fairy tales. Although we’re an American company, we have a global outlook. We’re in the export business, showing our products right around the world.”
Bird’s efforts appear to be working, as Disney’s revenue in Asia, Latin America and other developing regions has been growing fast. In the company’s most recent fiscal year, which ended in September, Disney brought in $3.9 billion in revenue in the Asia Pacific region, an increase of 31 percent over 2012, when revenue from the region was just shy of $3 billion. In Latin America and other developing markets, revenue climbed 24 percent over that period.
Those are big growth numbers compared with Disney’s operations in the United States and Canada, which grew about 16 percent from 2012 to 2014, and in Europe, which were up just 5 percent over that period.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- Disney Ups Stake in Indian Firm
- Disney’s Quarter Beats Expectations
- Disney's International Strategy Is in Hands of Johnson
- Disney, UMG Team up to Bring 'Hannah Montana' to Asia
- Disney to Acquire Rest of Bollywood Movie Company
- Walt Disney Co. Restructures Leadership in Asia
- Movie Studio Widens Focus
- Online Video Network’s Focus Expands to India