A Look at the Disney Media Machine

Disney machine working for Jonas Brothers (pdf)

Television has long propelled the careers of cute, harmonic boy bands. The Fab Four crossed the Atlantic for their fateful Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The Osmonds got their start on “The Andy Williams Show.”

The Disney Channel reincarnated “The Mickey Mouse Club” in 1989, launching the careers of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and half of ‘N Sync: Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez.

Since the January 2001 debut of “Lizzie McGuire,” the Disney Channel has become a powerful creative engine for its Burbank entertainment parent, producing a string of bankable names such as the Cheetah Girls, “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana.” The latter two are each expected to reap $1 billion in retail sales this year.

“They own the talent, they own the distribution, they can promote it all the time on television,” said David Smay, co-editor of the book “Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop, From the Banana Splits to Britney Spears.”

“It’s almost impossible not to have a hit,” he said.