An anonymous reader writes: Disney has been successful for the better part of a century. But they haven't always had to work as hard to do it. Over the past couple of decades, they've been facing more and better competition than ever before, and they've had to change their business strategy in response. An article at The Economist details this strategy, which seems to have a central theme: buy up things people loved as kids, and commercialize the hell out of them. The recent Star Wars film is the latest example — the marketing blitz around it (and its related merchandise) was a sight to behold. Disney is hoping that focusing investment on great content will protect them from the massive transitions underway in the content delivery part of the entertainment industry. "The biggest doubt is the durability of the model. It is not clear for how long such franchises can be stretched. And introducing new ones is a risk. John Carter, a film based on one of a series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, flopped. Cinema-goers will also have far more choice as other firms try to establish or add to their franchises."