Much like his real-life mouse counterparts, Mickey really knows how to wriggle his way into all corners. It's easy to say Disney looks smart when just one of its movies,
Toy Story 3
, brought in more than $1 billion in revenue this year, but it's Disney's commitment to maximizing all its resources that makes it one of the best.
Take streaming video, for example: The piece of the Hulu joint venture owned by Disney's ABC just became fairly lucrative, as Hulu's CEO revised the year's revenue estimates to $260 million from $240 million after a better-than-anticipated response to its $8-a-month subscription service. Meanwhile, Disney just signed a $150 million to $200 million one-year content deal with Netflix that includes not only the same content it's giving Hulu (after a 15-day window) but older content Disney hasn't wrung a cent from in a while. At the same time, its parks expand, its fleet of cruise ships grows, its television properties manage to negotiate higher fees (including ESPN's highest-in-basic-cable $4.10 a month) and its audience for video game properties such as
for Nintendo's Wii grows.
Revenue is up more than 5% this year, and the share price has jumped nearly 15%, with Disney's tweaks helping the company live up to that "happiest place on Earth" claim.