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Disney Ignoring Adult Fans at Its Own Peril

September 08, 2002

Here are some things to consider ["Disney Channel Putting Classics Back in the Vault," Sept. 3]:

Disney's California Adventure is opening a "kiddie area." The Disney Store has converted itself into a haven for kids' toys and costumes. The Disney Channel makes itself solely into a programming venue for kids and teens.

Meanwhile, Tokyo DisneySea, a theme park designed with all ages in mind, is a runaway success. EBay makes a fortune with thousands of Disney products bought and sold by adults every day. "Lilo & Stitch" grosses $150 million, an amount that reflects the film's grown-up wit and humor, not to mention adult admissions.

Not surprisingly, California Adventure is a white elephant that's costing Disney hundreds of millions of dollars. Sales at the Disney Stores are down precipitously.

The witless kid flick "The Country Bears" bombed. And now there's an outcry about the decline of adult programming on the Disney Channel. And rightly so.

Disney executives just don't seem to understand a very basic concept of their own business. Disney is not, and has never been, in the business of kowtowing to kids.

In the last few years, they have been alienating the very audience that loves their products most, and probably contributes the most to Disney's bottom line--adult Disney fans. The ones who spend tens of thousands of dollars on Disney weddings, Disney home furnishings, Disney vacations and even Disney time-shares.

As Eisner & Co. wring their hands over ABC's decline, they are neglecting the core Disney businesses and letting it be run by people who insist that "Disney" equals "kids."

Disney is not a kiddie company. It is in the business of family entertainment. Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg seemed to understand that in the late '80s and early '90s; the one who apparently does not understand that is the last remaining member of that triumvirate.

Disney seems intent on alienating grown-ups. And they seem to be succeeding.

John Josephs

Studio City


TV has become the great baby sitter. Kids and parents don't sit and watch TV together as they did 30 or 40 years ago.

Parents by and large have abdicated the decision-making role to their kids when it comes to television. They buy their children TVs and most of the time don't even pay attention to see whether what they are watching is suitable.

No wonder Disney and other kids' channels are creating and marketing shows that appeal only to their target groups while ignoring the rest of the family members.

Susan Kite

Athens, Tenn.

Iraq's Oil Is Sole Reason

for U.S. Intervention

Wow! There it is: "Oil Runs Deep in U.S. Stance on Iraq" [James Flanigan, Aug. 25]. Who would have guessed?

Let's face it. Oil is not "one reason for wanting to displace the Iraqi regime," it's the only reason.

Take away the need for oil, and how would our national priorities change with regard to the "political and economic reform" of Iraq?

Richard A. Hein


Farmers Are Behind

'California Grown' Effort

"Some Farmers Are Skeptical of Ads for State's Produce" [Aug. 23] may have given readers the impression that California's farmers and ranchers do not support the new "California Grown" promotion and advertising campaign.

Nothing could be further from the truth; not only does the agricultural industry in California support the concept, they are supporting it with their dollars. To date, 20 agricultural industries have joined the Buy California Marketing Agreement, the organization that oversees the California Grown campaign effort.

Those industries represent everything from produce, nuts and wine to fish, meat and wood products. Combined, they account for more than $6 billion in annual sales. Each industry is paying to be part of the campaign.

The farmers, ranchers and producers whose industry organizations are supporting California Grown recognize that the campaign will boost demand for and sales of their products. And they know that this will help them survive in an increasingly competitive environment. That's why they support California Grown.

Ralph Watts

Chief Executive

Buy California

Marketing Agreement


It's Time to Make

IPOs Truly Public

Am I the only one confused about those so-called IPOs? While they are initial offerings, they have never been "public." IPOs have been used by brokerages to curry favors from the big-money clients for years.

Now that it has become public that Bernie Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, made $11 million in four years from IPOs funneled to him by Salomon Smith Barney, some folks are beginning to see the light ["IPOs Net $11 Million for WorldCom Ex-CEO," Sept. 1].

Why not require that the SEC issue all IPOs on a lottery basis with a minimum of 100 shares and a maximum of 1000 shares allocated per winning applicant?

The SEC would be reimbursed as a part of the cost of the offering. Then they could honestly be called initial public offerings. There will never be integrity in the stock market until the government requires that the public aspect of a company "going public" is a reality instead of a ruse.

Forrest Godfrey


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