As Walt Disney dives deeper into Asia, CEO Bob Iger has been sending a strong message to his employees: Think mobile, mobile, mobile. “It’s all about mobile at Disney,” Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chief strategy officer, said in a conference in Indonesia on Wednesday. “And Asia has certainly been the leader in all things mobile, from business models to creative and handsets.”
The rapid penetration of mobile phones in Asia is bringing hundreds of millions of people in the region online. Disney and other global media giants are increasingly focused on building their business around handsets.
In Japan, Disney has already captured people’s hearts by locally developing Disney-brand smartphones with original content. Mayer said 1.5 million smartphones have been sold, and sales in the country are growing faster than the market. Such localization of business, partnerships and content “is something we endeavor to do in all markets, but especially in Asia, where the differences are fairly vast in respect to preferences,” he said. Mayer said Disney also regards acquisitions as a way to grow in Asia.
Iger, who took over in 2005, has made globalizing Disney a top priority. The company faces a critical test in June, when Shanghai Disneyland, its first theme park in mainland China, is scheduled to open. Mayer said the theme park will be “highly localized; authentically Disney but deeply Chinese.” Disney has also set an eye on the country’s fast-growing mobile gaming market. “In China, mobile games are not only the largest market opportunity but the fastest-growing market opportunity,” Mayer said. “That’s a very unusual combination.”
Disney is also seeking opportunities in Southeast Asia. Mayer said Maker Studios, a U.S.-based online video platform that Disney acquired in 2014, attracts 1 billion views from the region every month. While this does not directly generate revenue, the company is able to collect vast amounts of data about consumers’ tastes. “We can personalize the services better and serve consumers in a more deep and holistic way than just guessing what they want.”
Mayer has spearheaded Disney’s acquisitions — including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm — under Iger’s leadership. “We are attempting, and we will, have the full suite of Disney businesses, and Marvel businesses, and Pixar businesses and Lucas businesses all across Asia,” he said.
Source: Asia Nikkei