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In December 2015, Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, is celebrating the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – only the latest in a string of big bets that he has overseen. In fact, Disney pursues a 'tentpole strategy' that revolves around at least eight big- budget movies each year – most from its acquired labels Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm. Disney produces nearly twice as many tentpole movies as any other major Hollywood film studio, but fewer movies overall than all but one of its rivals. Will Disney's tentpole strategy pay off – in the short and long run?


  1. In your view, is Disney Studios pursuing the right number of tentpoles as well as the right mix of new versus existing properties? And is it right not to enlist the help of financing partners? Would you change anything to the current strategy?

  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of betting on 'tentpole' films?

  3. How would you characterize the movie development and marketing process at Disney? What are the different stages? And how can risk be minimized – and the odds of success be maximized – throughout the process?

  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a structure with multiple 'labels' or 'sub-studios,' as Disney has, as opposed to one central studio being responsible for the entire film output?

  5. Is Disney Studios well positioned to compete with rival Hollywood studios and new entrants in the long run?

The Walt Disney Studios (516-105)

FIFA and the World Cup: The Future of Football (522-076)

Should FIFA host its biggest event—the FIFA World Cup—every two years instead of every four, as it has been doing since the event’s inception in the 1930s? In September 2021, Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), addresses representatives of the 211 national associations that are members of football’s highest-level governing body, from a conference room in FIFA’s headquarters in Switzerland. The members have convened to discuss proposed reforms spearheaded by former coach Arsène Wenger, FIFA’s Chief Football Officer, who is seated next to Infantino. News of the planned reforms already have sent shockwaves through the world of football. For instance, the president of football’s European confederation, UEFA, has referred to a biennial World Cup as a “killer” and vowed to boycott the idea. The president of the Spanish league, one of football’s top three domestic leagues, has dismissed the plans as “a threat not just to domestic football leagues but to the overall tradition of world football.”


  1. In your view, are the proposed reforms—all part of a ‘Future of Football’ project designed to reshape the sport—the right bet for FIFA? And if so, what can the governing body do to guide the process along the right path?

  2. What makes the FIFA World Cup one of the sports world's biggest and most compelling events, and would that change if it took place every two years instead of every four?

  3. What are the major stakeholders in the football ecosystem? Which stakeholders are the most powerful? And what do the different stakeholders stand to gain and lose from a proposed biennial World Cup?

  4. How do you evaluate the decision-making process at the FIFA? How does the governing body create value for its constituents? And can it effectively reduce the inequality in football on a global scale?

Live Nation and Pharrell Williams (521-005)

“We’re in business together, and whether we lose a few million dollars or make a few million dollars, let’s do this. If you think you can pull it off, I’m behind you.” Michael Rapino, chief executive officer of Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, expresses his support to Pharrell Williams, one of the music industry’s biggest stars, and his long-time manager Ron Laffitte. It is December 2018, and Williams just pitched Rapino an idea for a music festival in Virginia Beach, Something In The Water. Williams is engaged in many endeavors – he is not only a chart-topping musician, but also a fashion designer, film and television producer, brand builder, and business consultant – that are brought together in his company, I Am Other, which is in a joint venture with Live Nation. Although Live Nation generally does not shy away from making big bets on its artists, Williams’ festival idea is risky and has an unusually aggressive time table.


  1. How does Live Nation create value for artists, their managers, and other stakeholders? And how do the company's different divisions -- concerts, sponsorship and advertising, ticketing, and artist management -- come into play here?

  2. When it comes to Live Nation's concert business, one of its executives describes the company as being "in the volume business." What exactly does he mean with that? And how do you evaluate this strategy?

  3. How would you characterize Williams and his I Am Other creative collective?

  4. What exactly does I Am Other get out of its joint venture with Live Nation, and vice versa? Do you feel the way in which the joint venture is structured makes sense for both parties?

  5. In your view, is Rapino right to lend his support to Williams’ proposed Something In The Water festival?

MrBeast: Building a YouTube Empire (523-103)

Wednesday November 16, 2022 was a historic day in the ascent of Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, to the top echelon of YouTube creators. That day he became the YouTuber with the most subscribers ever—a total of 112 million. The meteoric rise of the 24-year-old Donaldson, long “obsessed with figuring out how to make videos go viral,” as he put it, had not only made him one of the entertainment world’s most popular creators, but also enabled him to launch a variety of other businesses. Donaldson’s empire now generated more than $100 million a year. He had also emerged as a formidable force in philanthropy. How big could MrBeast’s presence on YouTube become? Did he have the right strategy for further growth on YouTube —while sustaining the ever-increasing levels of spending—and with his other businesses? And would MrBeast’s unique approach to philanthropy stand the test of time?


  1. In your view, does Donaldson have the right strategy for growth? And can he sustain the increasing levels of spending?

  2. Is there a formula to Donaldson’s success with his YouTube videos? What drives his remarkable growth in subscribers?

  3. How do you evaluate the development process for his videos? What happens in each stage, from ideation to post-production?

  4. What is the main source of the rising costs of producing videos? And how much do those videos generate in revenues from advertising and brand partnerships? Do you think that balance is right?

  5. What do you make of MrBeast’s business empire, the role that his main channel plays in the overall business, and the way in which he approaches philanthropy?

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