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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Disney Vault

When television first exploded on the scene, it was seen as being a death sentence for the movies. If the public could watch entertainment at home, why would they still want to go to a movie theater? The Hollywood studios decided to begin filming their movies in wide screen, so that the film experience could not be replicated on a small television screen. Additionally, they gave the television networks the cold shoulder. None of the movie studios would work with a television studio.

That ended somewhat in 1954. Walt Disney needed money to build DISNEYLAND, so he began his weekly series that would not only promote his Magic Kingdom with new programming, but would also show some of the studios' theatrical projects. It was an instant success, which made the other studios take notice. The television networks, hungry for programming, were eager to begin signing deals for content.

When Walt Disney first approached the networks, he was adamant that he only planned to license programming to them. His past movie catalog was not for sale. Mr. Disney wasn't sure what the future held for entertainment, but he wanted to be ready with his vast catalog of films still available to him for licensing. The other studios, however, were willing to sell their catalogs to the highest bidder. They didn't see any value in films that hadn't been viewed in years. MGM, Warner Brothers and Paramount quickly cashed out, a decision they would later regret. Walt Disney held onto his copyrights, a decision that made billions for the company in the future. Home entertainment became a lucrative business, one that the company was able to take advantage of because of Walt Disney's vision.