Thursday, January 08, 2009

Disney to Focus More on Boys

The Wall Street Journal has an article about Disney making a new push to target boys aged 6-14. After all, Disney has been wildly successful in recent years focusing on young girls with platforms such as High School Musical, Hannah Montana, and the like. They have not had the same type of success tapping into the market of young boys.

There is no question that a fair amount of specialization tends to occur among companies focused on toys, games, and media for children. For instance, in the toy market, we have two behemoths: Hasbro and Mattel. Hasbro has traditionally been very successful targeting young boys with products such as G.I. Joe, Spiderman, Transformers, Tonka, etc. Mattel has been very successful focusing on young girls with brands such as Barbie and American Girl. Both companies do sell to boys and girls, but they have not had equal success with both genders. In many ways, that has been a good thing. It's meant that the firms have been able to both generate high profits, because their competition has not been completely head-to-head. They've differentiated from one another a bit.

Now, Disney will find itself venturing into an area where they have had some success, but they haven't been as dominant. The question is whether Disney understands the boys market well enough, and has the ability to develop characters successfully, for that market. What new competitors will they bump up against with this new focus on boys? Perhaps most interestingly, this new strategic initiative may renew rumors that Disney is interested in acquiring a large videogame company, such as Electronic Arts, given that video games are particularly popular among young boys.

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