Ex Disney Honcho Has Fightin’ Words for Online Video Sites

Michael Eisner is comin’ out of his former Disney-fied shell with his fists up! The former Disney CEO is experimenting with online video by backing Vuguru and Veoh, a digital studio and distribution site, respectively. At a forum on digital video in New York yesterday, Mr. Eisner had some fightin’ words for some of his competition, including Hulu, MySpace and NBC. 

“[Hulu is] not an end game. It’s a middle game, maybe,” Mr. Eisner said, according to Wired.”It makes NBC and FOX think they’re in the new media. It makes them feel like their doing something. But I’m not sure it’s the right thing.”

So what does work

Are we talking about all video? Sex seems to work. User-gen, sports, news, anything with Sarah Palin works. At the end of the day, like in all the other industries from movies to TV, long-form, story-driven content is what ultimately works.

Apparently, stories about himself also seem to work. His company, Vuguru, produced an online show called Back on Topps, a comedy about bumbling executives trying to reinvent a baseball-card company. Hmm, sounds familiar, since Mr. Eisner bought Topps last year for $380 million. Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter reviews the show:

But when watching the first episode of the new online series “Back on Topps,” it might appear that Michael Eisner has not only fallen in love with his own reflection but fallen off his rocker.

“Topps” would seem a blatant vanity project on multiple levels. For one, a comedy series about executives trying to bring innovation to a baseball-card company feels autobiographical coming from Eisner, who actually bought Topps last year for $380 million with the mandate of rejuvenating the brand. Of all the subjects Eisner’s digital studio, Vuguru, could have devoted a Web series to, he just happened to pick another company he owned. In addition, Eisner himself is a recurring offscreen character in “Topps.”

But here’s the catch about this study in self-absorption: “Topps” happens to be both an exercise in executive egomania and a very funny Web series (a rarity) to boot.


Ex Disney Honcho Has Fightin’ Words for Online Video Sites