Disney Interactive Essay Research Paper Overview

Disney Interactive Essay, Research Paper Overview Disney Interactive, a division of the Walt Disney Company, designs and distributes video game software and educational

Disney Interactive Essay, Research Paper


Disney Interactive, a division of the

Walt Disney Company, designs and distributes video game software and educational

products. Located in Buena Vista, California, the division administers

Disney Online, a provider of entertainment products and information resources

on the Internet. Disney Interactive is also affiliated with the ABC Internet

Partnership (another Disney Co. subsidiary), the largest provider of news

content on the Internet.

Disney Interactive

Merging the resources of Disney Software, Walt Disney Studios, and Disney

Consumer Products, Disney

Interactive (DI) was established in 1994 to create a strong presence

in the emerging market for CD-ROMs. Central to DI’s development operations

is Disney Software. Created in 1988, the company has designed over 75

video games and CD-ROMs. While the division excelled technically, the

Disney Co. was concerned its products

might not be reaching the widest possible market. By merging their software

operation with the imaginative prowess of Walt Disney Studios, and the

commercial savvy of the consumer products division, Disney hoped to dominate

the video game and edu-tainment software markets.

Through joint efforts with Virgin Interactive

and Sony Imagesoft, DI developed Hot Shots, best

selling CD-ROM and video-game adaptations of popular animated films like


Lion King, Pocahontas and The

Hunchback of Notre Dame. The 1996 release of the CD-ROM version of


Story was backed by a $5 million dollar advertising campaign, and

was one of the company’s biggest sellers.

Disney Online

While DI executives were intrigued by the exploding new market on the

Internet, they were concerned that existing Internet navigators were not

user-friendly enough, especially for children. While developing content

for a major new web site, DI entered partnerships with BellSouth,

Ameritech, and SBC

Communications to design navigational software. In 1996 DI unveiled

Family.com, Disney Online’s first

Internet project. Culling articles from Disney’s group of periodicals,

including Family Fun and Family PC magazines, the site provided information

on topics ranging from planning a family vacation to tips on doing homework.

Encouraged by the site’s success, Disney Online launched entertainment

programming that featured games, stories, and edu-tainment products based

on DI’s CD-ROMs and software.

The entertainment site quickly grew to over 2,500 linked pages, allowing

access to a dozen Disney Co. divisions. Geared primarily to children,

users could download stories based on Disney animation, play games, visit

a virtual mockup of Walt Disney’s Main Street apartment, and communicate

with other children through chat rooms, and a sophisticated version of

e-mail called D-mail. Disney Online’s new site was formidably extensive,

rivaling any other entertainment network on the Internet. And it was only

the beginning.

In 1997 they unveiled Disney’s Daily

Blast channel, a sophisticated synthesis of high technology, marketing

savvy, and timeless story telling techniques from the Magic Kingdom. DI

was so certain the channel would be in instant demand, they made it available

by paid-only subscription. It quickly became one of the most successful

sites on the Internet.

Disney’s Daily Blast is designed to be a one-stop entertainment Mecca

for the entire family, a kind of virtual Disney World theme park. Divided

into seven different "worlds," the Blast offers entertainment

and distraction for all ages. The Blast’s leading attraction is the Castle/Disney

Filmplex, a self-contained entertainment complex in its own right. The

service had five basic areas, including preschool, stories, creativity,

games, and a Disney fan information site. With its sophisticated Avatar

based navigation system, young users easily negotiate its many attractions.

A comprehensive movie data base provides pictures and information about

Disney films. While chat rooms let children talk to one another and participate

in special live events. The service also has D-mail, a high-tech e-mail

that allows children to transmit art, sounds and stamps to other subscribers

of the service.

In Toon Town, preschoolers can play colorful games and puzzles, and even

learn to read simple stories. Tale-O-Topia has a comic book environment

that appeals to older children. The Loft gives budding artists a trove

of downloadable art, computer-art software, and lessons in drawing and

animation. The site also has music and music learning programs. The Information

Station introduces children to the world of news and current affairs.

Hoping to cull a future generation of news hounds, the site gives access

to the ABC Internet News channel. Children with boundless curiosity (or

pressing homework assignments) can turn to The Know It Hall, an easy-to-use

Web search engine. Game Nation offers an array of online games and links

to the web sites of games manufacturers. To keep parents interested, Disney’s

Daily Blast is also packaged with links to Disney’s Family.com.

Disney Interactive also pioneered the Disney

Online Store, an interactive endeavor that blended old fashioned marketing

with high-tech consumerism. Selling everything from toys and videos to

clothing and china, the service offered an online Giftfinder program that

helps consumers narrow their choices.

The ABC Internet Partnership

In 1995 the Disney Company entered a $19 billion dollar merger with Capital

Cities/ABC. Disney’s vastly expanded resources and capabilities made

it one of the largest multimedia conglomerates in the world, second only

to Time Warner. DI was soon overseeing

the rapid expansion of ABC News Online.

In 1997, the Disney Company purchased Starwave,

one of the largest independent content providers on the Internet. With

this final piece in place, Disney consolidated ESPNET SportsZone and ABC

online with Starwave, creating the ABC Internet Partnership (ABCIP). Directly

administered by DI, ABCIP quickly became the most far-reaching news provider

on the Internet. Their sophisticated multimedia newscasts, unrivaled by

any other online news source, made them a formidable contender. ABCIP

soon became the primary news service for both America Online and Netscape.

A testament to the growing importance of interactive entertainment in

the late ’90s, Disney helped found the Academy

of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) in 1996. Designed to promote

the advancement of online entertainment services, the AIAS included Sony

Interactive Studios America, Microsoft Corp., Electronic

Arts, Nintendo of America, and others. The Academy was originally

an outgrowth of the Interactive Digital

Software Association.



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