In his annual letter to shareholders, The Walt Disney Co. chairman Michael Eisner said the
company cut 4,000 jobs out of its work force in 2001, "primarily through
Eisner cited the company's broadcasting business as one of its top
"challenges" in 2002.
ABC was hit last year by the "one-two punch of a down economy and a drop in
ratings. Developing hit programs is the only way out of the problem," Eisner
said. "Of course there is no formula for creating great content. But it is
what we must do to reap the considerable rewards of owning a broadcast network .
One of our top priorities is to develop the kinds of programming that will
underpin resurgent long-range success."
On the plus side, he noted, the company's cable operations -- notably ESPN and
Disney Channel -- continue to thrive. Those networks -- coupled with new
additions, including SoapNet and ABC Family -- will help the company to leverage assets
in the broader TV landscape.
Looking at future new revenue streams, Eisner forecasted that wireless
phone technology is going to be really big. He cited the company's venture with
NTT DoCoMo's DoCoMo Wireless in Japan, where more than 2 million subscribers now pay
between $1 and $3 monthly to download and play Disney games, send Disney
greeting cards and so forth.
"Cell phones in Japan are dazzling mini-computers," Eisner
said, predicting that it's just a matter of time before that will be the
case in the United States and elsewhere, as well.