It was a cartoon short that launched the mouse house, which matured into a magical kingdom, and now is an unrivaled entertainment transnational. So yeah, it’s been a long road from Steamboat Willie, but Disney is relaunching its iconic character, Mickey Mouse, in a new series of shorts.
I’ll leave the analysis to the more capable hands of Amid at Cartoon Brew, but will say that I find the new designs to be wonderfully appealing, and though I’m a bit young to have nostalgia for Mickey and crew, I look forward to future entries, as the talent Disney has amassed for this project of 19 shorts is simply fantastic.
On a business note, I find it interesting that Disney and Pixar both are moving away from a VOD, DVD extras model for their shorts, and embracing online distribution. In particular Disney seems to be working hard to establish their new video.disney.com portal. Indeed, Disney has disabled embedding, so you’ll be forced to click through in order to see the short. This is also the same site that they released the Toy Story tie-in short Partysaurus Rex through a couple of months ago. That film had a 30 second pre-roll before it, which lead me to speculate that Disney was unhappy with the laughably low ad rates that YouTube is able to command, and that Disney felt limited by Hulu’s global unavailability (Disney is a major stakeholder in Hulu).
No ads this time, which means even more to me that establishing this portal is a high priority for Disney. Failing to maximize revenue on this series of shorts is fine if they serve as a foundation for a growing and sustainable video venture. Of course, when Disney really wanted to make a 10M views splash with a short, they put Paperman on YouTube…