'We are moving towards democratised entertainment'

Prerna K Mishra
New Delhi, November 17, 2006

The next challenge of the Internet will be to serve as an entertainment superhighway where creativity can flourish within financial limits. Mass communication, in future, will not need masses of money to reach the masses, says former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

Speaking at the fourth HT Leadership Summit, Eisner said: "We are moving towards democratised entertainment. An amateur producer in Korea, armed with a video camera and a computer, can upload his movie on the net where it can be spotted in hours by a Hollywood producer and a cyber deal can follow." An innovative chocolateer will not have to travel physically with his idea to Switzerland to make it big, he added.

It all sounded too good to be true - and that is precisely what it was. The entertainment honcho who has hit home runs in every job taken on hand, warned of the enormous pitfalls ahead too. "Infinite choice leads to enormous frustration. To make some sense of that madness, we will have to create human interfaces that can act as filters for viewers to access superior content without losing sleep over keeping trash at bay."

Eisner who spent 21years at Walt Disney, swears by innovation and creativity. But, to him creativity must have a symbiotic relationship with fiscal discipline.

Eisner never went to a business school or studied accounting, but he turned around ABC, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney has a simple theory about the success of any business venture. "Be creative within a box – I have followed that theory since I was 22. The trick is to create a financial box around you by hiring the best financial minds and let your creativity take over inside the parameters of the box. If you come up with something outright insane, they will always be there to warn you that you are risking the company."

They may call him the biggest cheese in Mouseland but his philosophy is pretty micro. "Micro-management is the best half of effective management. We went to France with The Golden Girls series but the first time we tried it, the series fell on its face. Something was seriously wrong. We realized that the translation made one of America's best-liked humour series sound not so humorous. So we decided to set up an international dubbing division. Now we can take the message across uniformly across continents."

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