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Disney's MovieBeam Will Fade Like a Moonbeam

This new set-top VOD venture will be just a $100 million write-off.

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No more devices. Sorry, I don't want still one more device attached to my television set. And I certainly don't want to pay for it.

Yet, there goes


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, offering Operation MovieBeam, under which you can add a device to your television that costs you money every day so you won't have to pay late fees at




Who thinks about this stuff? Who creates it? And at what point do companies stop dreaming about the wonders of video on demand?

When I read this story in

The Wall Street Journal

this morning about Disney's device to beam movies into your house, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. Still one more video-on-demand deal? Are they kidding?

The story about it, however, played it straight. It didn't reveal the gazillion other companies getting into this game, or that


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want in, too.

My prediction: There's a $100 million write-off headed Disney's way. This venture reminds me so much of those Disney ventures I was involved during the dot-com period. Everything they touched turned to stone. They had no feel for the marketplace or for what consumers wanted.

It's just amazing how bad they are.

If I had written that five years ago, people would be emailing me about what an idiot I was to tarnish a great brand name. Now people just yawn. They know it, too.

Everyone knows it, except the board of Disney. One day, though, like the board of



, they will learn, too.

And on that day, you gotta be long a boatload of Disney calls. Because the day that Michael Eisner leaves that company will be a day that the stock jumps 20% from

wherever it is currently trading


The funniest thing about this is that every analyst on Wall Street knows this, but they all are terrified about saying it publicly, just as the Motorola analysts were terrified about saying negative things about former CEO Galvin. That comes from the inability of most of the firms to want to anger Disney either because they want the call back or they want the investment banking business.

And when it happens, when Eisner's finally out, everyone at the company will say "Of course, we knew we had a problem, but what could you do?"



James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made.

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