Walt Disney Co. has acquired New York-based Babble Media Inc., a parenting site that features advice about pregnancy, child development and related topics from some 200 mommy bloggers.
The Burbank entertainment giant has been acquiring family-focused websites in recent years, as its struggling Disney Interactive Media Group seeks to build out its online offerings for parents.
Babble, launched in 2006 by husband-and-wife team Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, attracts about 2.1 million monthly visitors — about 483,000 of whom are women with children ages 2 to 17, according to Nielsen.
Blogs have become a vital source of information for women with children. The research firm EMarketer estimates that 54% of the 32 million mothers who go online in the U.S. every month visit blogs.
"This is an audience where there's a lot of loyal, faithful readers," said Debra Aho Williamson, an online analyst for EMarketer who wrote an October 2010 report about moms who blog. "People tend to gravitate towards certain bloggers ... and comment regularly on what they're reading. It's a very tight-knit community."
Major media companies have been in hot pursuit of mothers. Nickelodeon plans to launch NickMom, a nightly block of programs aimed at parents, late next year. It will be accompanied by a website, Nickelodeon's ParentsConnect.com, that dispenses parenting advice.
Disney has been assembling its own collection of mom-focused websites for years, to bolster its network of family-oriented Internet offerings. It acquired IParenting Media's collection of websites in late 2007, and two years later paid $23.3 million to buy Kaboose Inc., a Canadian family-focused media group.
"Disney is all about moms and kids. It's a great place for them to 'play,'" said Mike Vorhaus, president of consulting group Magid Advisors.
In the latest deal, for which terms were not disclosed, Disney gains a site that was named one of the 50 best of 2010 by Time magazine. Its bloggers write on a range of parenting topics. Recent contributions include "I'm Jealous of My Nanny," "20 Sleepover Party Recipes" and "How to Buy and Use a Family Camera."
"With more than 3.9 million mom blogs in the U.S. alone, Disney Interactive recognizes and values the important and powerful role moms have taken on in new media," Brooke Chaffin, senior vice president of women and family for the company's interactive media group, said in a statement.
Disney declined to comment. Babble did not respond to a request for an interview.