Walt Disney Records To Release Aladdin Original Broadway Cast Recording Featuring Exclusive Bonus Content

Aladdin - Broadway CD

The cast of the new Broadway smash, Disney’s Aladdin is currently in the studio laying down tracks for the Original Cast Recording of the show, to be released by Walt Disney Records digitally on Tuesday, May 27th.  The physical album is set for release on Tuesday, June 17th and will also be available for purchase in-theater.  The Aladdin Original Broadway Cast Recording will be produced by Alan MenkenMichael KosarinFrank Filipetti and Chris Montan and executive produced by Kurt Deutsch.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, Aladdin features music by Tony Award® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken(Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and two-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).   This new production features a full score, including the Oscar and Grammy® winning hit “A Whole New World,” and four other cherished songs from the film and multi Grammy-winning original motion picture soundtrack.  The cast album also includes four Menken/Beguelin songs written especially for the stage and three Menken/Ashman songs that were cut from the original film, plus exclusive bonus content created especially for the album.

Disney’s Aladdin, the new musical comedy based on the Academy Award®-winning animated film, opened to critical acclaim onMarch 20th, 2014 at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. USA Today raves, “Pure GENIE-US! Aladdin delivers a rush that will surprise you.” The Associated Press exclaims, “Disney hits magic again…a wonder to behold!” while The New York Times hails the show as “Fabulous… Extravagant!” and the Daily News declares, “Seriously, it’s amazing!”

Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs (Les MiserablesThe Lion King) in the title role, Courtney Reed (In the HeightsMamma Mia) as Jasmine, James Monroe Iglehart (MemphisThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Genie, and, as Jafar, Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman (Mary PoppinsThe ProducersShe Loves Me) brings to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film.  The show also stars Brian GonzalesBrandon O’Neill and Jonathan Schwartz as Aladdin’s sidekicks Babkak, Kassim and Omar, Clifton Davis as Sultan and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago.

A TV App From Disney Lets Travelers Browse Its Vacation Offerings

Disney Parks Smart TV App

Taken from the New York Times

A SMART TV app being introduced by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on Thursday will let potential travelers use their remote controls to research vacations at theme parks and hotels and on cruise ships and packaged tours.

Brad Baker, director of digital marketing for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said the advent of smart, or Internet-connected, TVs had created “a really interesting space for us, since there is now a new way for us to be able to tell our story.”

The app — which will be free and available initially through the Samsung smart TV app store, and in early April, through the LG smart TV app store and on Blu-ray players — was developed with BrightLine, an interactive television advertising and technology company based in New York. It aggregates videos, photographs, interactive theme park maps and other information from the websites of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts businesses and from their social media channels. New to the app is a trivia quiz as well as some videos. It also lets viewers request additional information, by submitting their email address.

Rob Aksman, co-founder and chief experience officer of BrightLine, said it was appropriate for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to commission an app because it had “a lot of rich content consumers care about.” The large size of screens on many high-definition smart TVs should also benefit Disney, he added, because “screen size matters when it comes to influencing consumer behavior.”

David Bank, who follows the Walt Disney Company for RBC Capital Markets, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts generated approximately 20 percent of the parent company’s annual operating income. The businesses in that division include Disneyland Resort; Walt Disney World Resort; Disney resorts in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong, and one scheduled to open in Shanghai in 2015; Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club, a time-share company; Aulani, a Hawaiian resort; Adventures by Disney, a tour operation; and Walt Disney Imagineering, a company that designs and builds Disney parks, ships and resorts.

Mr. Baker said the app was intended to cater to families gathered around their high-definition, smart TVs. The app will be offered at present only in the United States market; Mr. Baker said if it were widely used, it could be offered through additional smart TV systems featuring Roku boxes and other technology.

He declined to quantify what Walt Disney Parks and Resorts was spending on the app’s development. According to Kantar Media, advertising spending, in all media, by Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Disneyland and Walt Disney World ranged from $32 million in 2010 to $79 million last year.

John Greening, a professor of branding and marketing communications at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, said “the real magic of what Disney is doing is the depth of the experiences they’re showing; for example, there are over 40 videos on the different types of experiences you can have at theme parks. These things are going to be very effective in moving people down the pathway to purchase.”

Barbara Jones, a professor at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, praised Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for “going to where people are. They’re spending more time with television, because this is arguably the golden age of television.”

Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at N.Y.U., predicted the app would help those prospective Disney guests who might be “intimidated” by the scale of Walt Disney World and the brand’s multiple offerings “feel more confident” about making their choices.

Disney by Samsonite: Magical Collaboration to Encapsulate Youthful Nostalgia

Disney by Samsonite Logo

Samsonite®, the world’s largest luggage brand for over 100 years, is pleased to introduce the Disney by Samsonite collection for kids. Starting from 2014, this iconic collaboration combines the magical world of Disney with state-of-the art products for which Samsonite is known. Depicting iconic Disney characters, the collection will delight young ones, while instantly transporting parents to their own youth. The Disney by Samsonite range effortlessly reflects the fantasy charm and nostalgia of Disney in a distinctive and understated style.

“Samsonite’s affiliation with Disney is an exciting new development for our brand,” said Tim Parker, Samsonite Chairman and CEO. “Disney is an iconic family entertainment brand and we are truly delighted to be working with the company. With our 100 year heritage and travel expertise, the new Disney by Samsonite category will stay true to our ethos of innovative design, while also capturing the hearts and minds of both young and old.”

Adding to Samsonite’s expansive array of travel solutions, consumers will be able to find a selection (luggage, school items, backpacks and more) for kids featuring Disney’s most beloved characters including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Disney Princesses, Disney/Pixar Cars, Disney Planes, Marvel’s Spider-Man and The Avengers. Featuring PVC free bags, ergonomic backpacks, and reflective details, parents will feel reassured in the knowledge that they are sending kids to school or overnight camp with durable and safe luggage that shares the impeccable Samsonite brand heritage. Pleasing adults and children alike, the Disney by Samsonite collection makes buying schoolbags and luggage for children easy with affordable, trustworthy, resilient products that will appeal to even the youngest traveller.

The collaboration between Samsonite and Disney promises great potential with plans already underway to launch a premium Disney assortment. The first Disney by Samsonite assortment will reach markets in July 2014 and will be distributed across Europe, Russia, Turkey and South Africa. Recognised as pioneers within their respective industries, Samsonite and Disney both grew from humble beginnings to become true market leaders within their fields. Combining the best of both worlds, Disney by Samsonite is the perfect synergy between the magical world of Disney and Samsonite’s state-of-the-art products. This new relationship is the ideal alignment of two highly distinguished brands set to inspire the imaginations of all.

Walt Disney Records’ Frozen Soundtrack Maintains Top Position On The Billboard Charts For Seven Non-Consecutive Weeks

Elsa-Frozen

The Platinum-certified Frozen soundtrack maintains the No. 1 slot on the Billboard Top 200 album chart spending seven non-consecutive weeks in the top position according to Nielsen SoundScan. Selling 202,000 copies in the week ending March 23, the soundtrack has sold over 1.6 million copies and over 5 million combined digital tracks in its 17th week of release. Frozen is the first album to sell a million units in 2014.

The Oscar-winning song “Let It Go,” performed by Idina Menzel, has sold over 2 million copies and is expected to be certified double Platinum by the end of the week. The track is in the Top 15 (*13) at Mainstream AC radio and is #33* and climbing at Adult Top 40 radio. “Let It Go” is currently the #2 song on the iTunes singles chart and #2 on the overall Billboard’s Digital Song chart. The film video version of Idina’s “Let It Go” has been viewed more than 150M times on YouTube and Demi Lovato’s “Let It Go” music video has been Vevo-certified for surpassing 100M views.

The album maintains its No. 1 position on Billboard’s Soundtrack Chart, peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes Overall Chart (and in 31 countries), plus Amazon’s Overall Music Category, Pop, and Overall MP3 charts. The Frozen album has held the #1 position for 5 non-consecutive weeks at Spotify and worldwide, is approaching 110M album streams.

The soundtrack features eight original songs from Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and songwriter Robert Lopez plus score by the composer of last year’s Oscar-winning short “Paperman,” Christophe Beck.

The Frozen soundtrack, the Frozen two-disc deluxe edition and the digital deluxe edition soundtrack (featuring 23 and 27 additional tracks respectively, including demos, outtakes and a “Let It Go” instrumental karaoke track) are available at physical and online retail.

Disney to Buy YouTube Video Maker

disney.acquires.maker_.studios.youtube

Emphasizing online video’s growing value to the media industry, The Walt Disney Company on Monday said it would acquire Maker Studios for an initial sum of $500 million

Maker Studios which is one of the leading producer and distributor of short, entertaining videos on YouTube, many of which are geared toward millennials. Its many channels receive a total 5.5 billion YouTube views per month, which makes it one of the most successful online video companies of its kind.

Essentially, Maker has helped create a whole new universe of shows, made for the Web rather than television, and now Disney will be able to learn from them. This is could be very important since one of Disney’s key demographics, teenagers, are flocking to online video services like YouTube.

“By acquiring Maker Studios, Disney will gain advanced technology and business intelligence capability regarding consumers’ discovery and interaction with short-form online videos, including Disney content,” the press release about the acquisition said.

Reportedly, Maker will not be folded into one of Disney’s television or film divisions.  Instead, Maker’s executives will report directly to Disney’s chief financial officer, with the presumption that this will ease collaboration with multiple divisions.

The acquisition to close sometime in the spring, according to Disney. In addition to the $500 million, Maker’s shareholders may receive up to $450 million more over time, depending on whether Maker achieves its performance targets.

Approximately $70 million had been invested into Maker, including $25 million from the investment arm of Time Warner, the parent company of Maker.

The $500 million, though it could up to possibly $950 million, will set a new bar for startup online video networks. Earlier this month when the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Disney and Maker were talking, it was said that it “would mark the biggest acquisition by a major media company in the fast-growing but challenging business of producing and promoting video programming on Google’s YouTube.”

“Maker’s YouTube-centric DNA would give Disney valuable insight into how to extend its star-making machine to the still quite opaque online realm,” industry analyst Will Richmond, the publisher of Videonuze, wrote at the time. “But star-making is just half of the equation. The other, equally important half is mastering (and quite possible shaping) how online video distribution works, and what role YouTube will play.”

Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney, said in a statement on Monday that “short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities.”