Disney Plans Aquisition of Social Network Developer Playdom, Inc.

Advancing on its goal of bringing consumers its well-known stories, characters and brands in ever more engaging ways, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Playdom Inc., one of the leading companies in the fast-growing business of online social gaming.

Playdom shareholders will receive total consideration of $563.2 million, subject to certain conditions, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.

In just two and a half years of operation, Playdom has established itself as a pacesetter in building popular games for social networks enjoyed by consumers around the globe. Through well-known titles like Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola, Playdom engages an estimated 42 million active players each month.

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Disney Family.com and Teri Hatcher Announce ‘Take a Chance – Make a Change’ Contest on GetHatched.com

Disney Family.com announced today the first ever Take a Chance – Make a Change Contest inspiring people to visit GetHatched.com, Disney Online’s latest Web site created with award winning actress Teri Hatcher. The contest encourages people to share a life-long goal that they have yet to achieve, with the grand prize winner receiving $10,000 to put toward fulfilling their goal or improving an area of their life that they have always wanted to change. The contest will run through July 26, 2010.

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Disney and thisMoment Establish ‘Step Up 3D’ Interactive Experience Across Social Media Networks

thisMoment, a company focused on creating engaging experiences at the point where social media, mobile devices, and the real-time Web collide, today announced that Walt Disney Studios is leveraging its Distributed Engagement Channel (DEC) to create an official interactive experience for Step Up 3D fans.

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OverDrive Announces Preliminary Agreement to Bring Disney Digital Books to Public Libraries

OverDrive (www.overdrive.com), the leading global distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, and digital content to libraries and schools, today announced a preliminary agreement with Disney Digital Books (www.disneydigitalbooks.com) that will enable libraries to offer access to Disney’s comprehensive library of books online. Young library patrons and their parents will be able to enjoy — for the first time — unlimited access to over 600 new and classic Disney books for kids of all ages with just an Internet-connection and library card. The extensive library features hundreds of digital books available at the click of a mouse, including favorites from popular Disney franchises such as Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Disney Princess, Cars, and Hannah Montana, along with many other classic and contemporary Disney stories.

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Stitch Kingdom Debuts New DisneyStore.com Deals Alert System

With all due respect to Jack Donaghy, we too like to do a little innoventing from time to time and in the past few days, we’ve been doing exactly that.

Many of our readers know that for a while now, we have been reporting on new items as they become available on DisneyStore.com, items which include specials such as limited edition items, Vinylmation collectibles, D23 member exclusives and more, long before other outlets take note of them.

While that service to our readers has already proven to be very successful, we knew it could do more — we needed to find a way to plus the unique service we already provided. For example, we were limiting on what we were reporting simply because of the time and energy required. We also could only tell you what was new, not what had just gone on sale, nor could we provide direct links most of the time because the item was too new to be available in the DisneyStore.com affiliate database.

All this has now changed. Many of you have already witnessed the fruits of the technology we’ve been implementing over the past few days and over the next couple of weeks, we hope to expand this to bigger and better shopping opportunities for the thousands of Disney fans who visit us daily. We are thrilled to introducing to you our unrivaled DisneyStore.com Deals Alert System and give you an insider’s look into how it works and how you can make it work for you.

Each morning, while most of us are still sleeping (or going to sleep), DisneyStore.com updates its inventory. Our automated system then rummages through the DisneyStore.com inventory database and finds all the new items and new deals. Unfortunately we can’t provide more information on how this works, but trust us, it works — very well.

Around 7 am EST, the alert system itself kicks in and currently does this in a couple of ways. First, a news item is automatically generated and (currently) submitted for manual review before its published. This news item contains only new items available at DisneyStore.com. This is primarily because when DisneyStore.com initiates a sale (like the recent twice a year sale), it can mark down dozens of items, if not hundreds and that would be one heck of a news item to sort through.

But if it is deals you’re after, there’s another way to find them right now and that’s on Twitter. By following @SK_TDSAlerts on Twitter, you’ll learn not only about all the new items, but also about all the items whose prices have been marked down that day. With sales routinely running between 25%-70% or more, you really don’t want to pass up these opportunities that you’ll be the first to learn about. And just in case DisneyStore.com does introduce a huge sale one day, the @SK_TDSAlerts account is capped at sending no more than 5 tweets per half hour, so you won’t be flooded by alerts for amazing deals.

In the future, we hope to expand on what the service offers in addition to possibly adding other shopping service alerts such as Amazon.com if it proves to be successful. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions and hope you enjoy the new service.

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Rita Ferro Named Executive VP of Disney Media Sales and Marketing

Rita Ferro, an executive with a strong track record in advertising sales and promotions, has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Disney Media Sales and Marketing, effective June 28. Ms. Ferro will relocate to New York from Miami, where she’s been an integral part of Disney and ESPN’s Latin America business since 1997. She succeeds Tricia Wilber who was recently named Chief Marketing Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

In her new role, Ferro will lead the integrated sales team that represents and maximizes advertising sales, marketing and promotions across The Walt Disney Company’s media platforms serving kids, moms and families, including its kid-driven, family inclusive TV channels, its wide-range of online offerings, its mom-focused publishing business, and its kid- and mom-focused radio platform. The portfolio, consists of Disney Channel, Disney XD, Playhouse Disney (soon to re-brand to Disney Junior), plus over 20 Disney Online properties serving kids, families and/or women including Disney.com, DisneyFamily.com, DisneyChannel.com, RadioDisney.com, Kaboose.com and FamilyFun.com, among others.

Ferro will report to three business unit leaders – Carolina Lightcap, president, Disney Channels Worldwide; Paul Yanover, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Disney Online, and Russell Hampton, president, Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Ms. Lightcap said, “Rita has a great reputation in the advertising community and a strong background in generating strategic opportunities for diverse clients in a dynamic multichannel, multi-brand business.” She continued, “I am excited to be working closely with her again, and know our integrated ad sales team stands to benefit enormously from her keen insights, strong relationships and leadership skills.”


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Barilla Piccolini and Disney Offer Free Personalized Character Phonecalls, Activities

To bring delight and amusement to children around the country, Barilla and Disney Media Sales and Marketing have joined forces on a multi-platform promotion — across Disney Channel, Disney Online, Radio Disney and Disney FamilyFun — that offers a unique character call program featuring select characters from Disney Channel’s #1 Playhouse Disney series, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Starting today parents and family members can schedule one of six themed personalized phone calls from popular Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy for their little ones.

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Disney/Pixar’s YouTube Blitz: Pogo Presents ‘Toyz Noize’ and ‘Buzzwings’ and More

Disney/Pixar unleashed a furious storm of YouTube videos recently on its official channel.

Among the offerings are new video remixes from Australian DJ Pogo who shot to Disney fame with his previous release UPular last year in honor of the Disney/Pixar film UP. Pogo continues the new tradition with Toyz Noize and Buzzwings, using soundbites and footage from the Toy Story films backed with a music track to create a brand new viewing experience.

In addition to the music videos on YouTube, cast and crew from Toy Story 3 talk about their YouTube addiction themselves. The video features director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla Anderson and cast members Kristen Schaal (Trixie) and Jeff Garlin (Buttercup).

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ESPN and Microsoft Announce Exclusive Content Deal for Xbox Live Subscribers

ESPN today announced a collaboration with Microsoft, exclusive within the game console category, to introduce the ultimate interactive experience for sports fans.  The deal will bring ESPN3.com’s live events, ESPN.com’s video-on-demand clips and sports highlights and other interactive features to the Xbox 360 console.

Beginning in November, Xbox LIVE Gold members who receive their Internet connection from an affiliated service provider will have access to more than 3,500 live, global events every year via ESPN3.com – ESPN’s 24/7 broadband sports network – including college basketball, college football and bowl games, MLB, NBA, international soccer, tennis including all four Grand Slam tournaments, golf majors and more.  Fans will also be able to replay sports and events with full DVR control, pull up current scores on-demand while watching the game and easily switch between events and see what the most popular games are in the Xbox LIVE community in real time.

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Disneyland Website Creates Personalized ‘Summer Nightastic’ Videos

Personalized video from Disneyland's MySummerNightastic.comThe Disneyland Resort has been consistently knocking them out of the park lately with its web sites and mini-sites offering fun interactivity in all new ways.

Following the bleeding edge World Of Color Creator, with which we were the first to share the news (although perhaps a bit early), the Disneyland Resort now goes slightly more event generic with the Summer Nightastic personalized video creator at MySummerNightastic.com.

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