May 14, 2011 |
Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges that online virtual worlds once operated by its Playdom games division violated federal rules designed to protect the safety and privacy of children younger than 13 on the Internet. The Federal Trade Commission charged that several sites, including one online virtual world targeting children called Pony Stars, illegally collected and disclosed personal information from thousands of children, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Some 821,000 children registered with Pony Stars from 2006 to 2010, according to the FTC. An additional 403,000 children provided their information to some of the 19 other virtual worlds operated by Playdom, including 2 Moons, 9 Dragons and My Diva Doll.
November 15, 2011 |
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.
October 4, 2010 |
Two years after Walt Disney Co. merged its video game and Internet units to better coordinate the operations, the entertainment company said Sunday that it would divide the responsibilities for its Interactive Media Group under two newly appointed co-presidents. John Pleasants, a veteran new media executive who joined the company with Disney's acquisition this summer of Playdom, will oversee the games business, including online, console, social and mobile play. He will also continue to operate Playdom, the publisher of games for social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.
July 28, 2010 |
Walt Disney Co. made a bold bet on social networks as an emerging entertainment platform Tuesday by agreeing to acquire gaming company Playdom Inc. for $563.2 million. Playdom is among the largest makers of online social games, which allow players to organize mock mafia hits, coordinate sorority soirees or play other games on networks such as Facebook and MySpace. The deal positions Disney to capitalize on a segment of the video game industry that's rapidly expanding. "There's a huge growth opportunity happening in the marketplace that we weren't really playing in in any significant way," said Steve Wadsworth, president of the Disney Interactive Media Group.
February 24, 2010 |
Walt Disney Co. believes that World of Cars, its new subscription-based online community aimed at boys and based on the Pixar movie "Cars," won't get lost in the traffic of virtual worlds. Things are already a bit congested. Some 200 virtual worlds target children under 12. Each competes for a slice of the 10 hours and 45 minutes a day the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that kids spend viewing media, simultaneously vying for screen time against a growing number of portable media players and smart phones that offer their own diversions.
May 20, 2011 |
Walt Disney Co. wagered that its acquisition last summer of game developer Playdom Inc. would help bring Mickey, Snow White and other familiar characters to a new generation of fans who play games on social networks. The bet has yet to pay off. Disney's $563-million investment was a key component in a broad restructuring of its interactive group intended to put the perennially money-losing division on the road to profitability. It signaled a strategic shift away from traditional console video games, to focus on emerging opportunities online and on mobile devices.