From the New York Times –
There is a saying in Hollywood, attributed to Katharine Hepburn, about why the pairing of Fred Astaire and Gingers Rogers worked so well: “He gave her class, and she gave him sex.” Two familiar names in entertainment that are teaming up for another pas de deux may not be Astaire and Rogers, but they are giving each other something each wants.
The Turner Classic Movies cable channel is joining with two divisions of the Walt Disney Company for an agreement, to be announced on Wednesday, that underlines how media giants are increasingly collaborating on content-marketing efforts.
TCM will help the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division make changes to the Great Movie Ride, a long-running attraction at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios section of Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
In return, TCM will receive “Presented by” credits at the attraction on posters, banners, display windows, marquees and the like, which will also display the TCM logo.
In the other part of the deal, another Disney division, Walt Disney Studios, will provide TCM with vintage movies, cartoons, documentaries and episodes of TV series like “Disneyland” and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” for a periodic programming block on the channel under the banner of “Treasures From the Disney Vault.”
The block will be offered by TCM “roughly four to five times a year,” said Charlie Tabesh, senior vice president for programming and production of TCM.
“Disney films and other programming have been seen a little bit on TCM, but not much,” he added. “It will be exciting to dig into the vault and see classic Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, ‘The Wonderful World of Disney,’ ” he said.
The initial block of Disney programming by TCM is to run from 8 p.m., Eastern time, on Dec. 21 through 5:15 a.m. on Dec. 22. “It’s a Sunday night,” Mr. Tabesh said, “a perfect family night and getting close to Christmas.”
Among the nine scheduled items from the Disney archives are “Santa’s Workshop,” a 1932 cartoon; “The Disneyland Story,” in which Walt Disney himself describes in 1954 plans for the park named Disneyland that he opened in Anaheim, Calif., the next year; “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier,” edited from episodes of a “Disneyland” serial about the frontiersman; and “The Vanishing Prairie,” a nature documentary.
The changes for the Disney World ride are scheduled to be introduced in the first quarter of 2015, perhaps in the early spring. What visitors see as they wait for the ride and watch as part of the finale will receive a reboot under the aegis of TCM, playing on its reputation as an expert in classic film.
Among the new elements will be a video featuring Robert Osborne, the host who has been the face of TCM since the channel began operations in 1994; he will identify himself as “from Turner Classic Movies.”
The idea is to “inject TCM brand authority” into the ride, said Pola Changnon, vice president for brand creative and on-air promotions at TCM, and “pique the curiosity” of visitors, encouraging them to explore the world of classic film once they are home.
TCM is part of the Turner Entertainment Networks division of Turner Broadcasting System, which is owned by Time Warner. The agreement between TCM and the Disney divisions, for undisclosed terms, expands upon a relationship between TCM and various parts of Disney.
For instance, the fourth TCM Classic Cruise, held last month, was the second aboard the Disney Cruise Line ship called Disney Magic. And a highlight of the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, held in April, was a 50th anniversary screening of the Disney Studios movie “Mary Poppins” at El Capitan Theater, which is owned by Disney.
“We’re looking at this as a strategic alliance that brings together two very strong brands, both with a core in the business of entertainment,” said Carlos Castro, vice president for corporate alliances of Disney, “and complements Disney’s commitment to great storytelling and delivering quality family entertainment.”
“Part of our process in vetting all our partners is making sure their brands align with the Disney brand,” Mr. Castro added, “and both brands are a natural fit.” The TV initiative “lets us share more classic Disney stories with TCM audiences,” he said, and “the refresh of the Great Movie Ride” will “enhance the guest experience by showcasing TCM content and talent.”
Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM, echoed Mr. Castro in describing the “multifaceted creative collaboration” called for under the new agreement as “truly a natural fit.” That is important in content marketing, she said, lest TCM viewers and Disney World guests deem the partnership inauthentic.
Disney World, Disneyland and El Capitan are examples of what is known as experiential marketing, which gives consumers a chance to experience brands in tangible form. TCM has been delving into experiential marketing with steps that include, in addition to the cruises and film festivals, guided tours with classic-movies themes in Los Angeles and New York; auctions of film memorabilia by Bonhams that are “presented by TCM”; and annual screenings of “Miracle on 34th Street” outside the Macy’s Herald Square store that is key to the movie’s plot.
According to TCM executives, the agreement began with an administrative assistant, Amanda Tymeson, who returned from a visit to Disney World and suggested “that TCM and Disney would be great partners” in revamping the Great Movie Ride, Ms. Dorian said. Ms. Tymeson has since been promoted.