Friday, March 21, 2008

Bob Iger's Igloo and Other Kid's Resources

Disney CEO Bob Iger was recently interviewed about the corporation’s digital strategy. The clip runs about 6 minutes and covers a range of topics, but the emphasis is on what they are doing in the children’s marketspace. He points out that the Internet is not just a Gen X/Gen Y phenomenon; young children also find the web fascinating.View the video here.

Disney has been active in the preteen Internet space in ways other than just promoting their theme parks and movies. Iger believes that children are turning to the web first instead of to television, and Disney must be there. They are. Just last year they acquired Club Penguin and launched Fairies, both virtual worlds aimed at preteens. According to the Gamine Expedition blog, the Fairies virtual world had 5 million fairy avatars last month. The blog post also has a list of the “clickables” toys that are a feature of the site. The Fairies world for little girls will soon be followed by a Radiator Springs world for little boys. In case you’ve been living on another planet, Radiator Springs is the mythical home of Pixar’s Cars characters, around which a whole industry has grown up.

Disney is not alone in recognizing the importance of interactive and social sites for children. AOL recently relaunched its KOL site in partnership with National Geographic, which has a wonderful children’s site. Note an important difference. The older sites are interactive and engaging. Disney is moving into virtual worlds where children can establish their own space, create avatars, and generally move in and take up virtual residence.

In fact, Bob Iger has his own igloo on Club Penguin. No, he won’t divulge the address, but he says it has amenities like a plasma TV and a basketball hoop. Assuming that he does hang out there occasionally, it’s a good way to add to understanding of an increasingly important market opportunity.Sphere: Related Content

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