Disney CFO: Expect 'Star Wars' Movies to Build on Marvel Model

Disney CFO Jay Rasulo - P 2012

Disney CFO Jay Rasulo - P 2012

"Look, it's no secret that this has not been a great year for the box office -- it is an unbelievable year for us. Tthat's because we went forward with brands"

Walt Disney, the parent of Lucasfilm, intends on doing for Star Wars what it did for its Marvel superheroes -- including broadening the appeal to female and international audiences and moving lots of toys and other products, said CFO Jay Rasulo on Wednesday.

"We are doing what we do for our Disney franchises ... with Star Wars, and it is mirroring Marvel, but we already know the path, so it's going to go faster, smoother, with the same goals," Rasulo said.

The executive said that Thor, Captain America and other Marvel movies are a model for making upcoming Star Wars movies even more popular than previous ones, and Guardians of the Galaxy is an example of getting more families and females into the audience.

Rasulo also noted that the summer box-office slump did not impact Disney.

"Look, it's no secret that this has not been a great year for the box office -- it is an unbelievable year for us. That's because we went forward with brands," Rasulo said.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference, Rasulo also boasted that Maker Studio boasts about 9 billion video views monthly, up from about 4 billion when Disney purchased the company in March. He said Maker may account for more than 6 percent of YouTube's traffic. He said in the future Maker will be a distributor of Disney and ESPN shortform library content.

Rasulo also defended the cable television bundle.

"It's easy to make sweeping statements, like, 'Well, people pay for channels they don't watch.' But you don't watch them, but the guy next door to me watches and it's one of his favorite channels ... if you think of the quality of the investment and the production value that's put into television today, the cost of monthly MVPD subscriptions is still an incredible value," the exec said.

Rasulo also expressed his opinion that a down upfronts advertising season will be made up with scatter-market sales.

"Television continues to be a very strong value for advertisers," he stated. "We not only sell advertising, but we buy a lot of advertising ... so we get to be both in the heads of the buyers as well as the sellers, and our people still feel very strongly about television. It's not because we put their arms behind their backs, but because they still feel it's an incredibly powerful way to reach consumers."

He added: "I'm cheering on the people who sell advertising in the company, and then on the other hand I'm like beating up the other guys for not using more digital. The simple fact is that they are increasing their digital buy, but they're not taking it out of their television budget. So we see a microcosm of that even inside our own company."