Disney Wants Its Own MySpace
Business Week 1/8/06

Disney Wants Its Own MySpace

It's been the worst kept secret in dot-com land of late. The Walt Disney Co., after nearly a year of rethinking its flagship Disney.com site, will soon unveil a major overhaul in an effort to make it less of a promotional site and more of a social-networking site for kids and their folks. Call it the PG MySpace, or at least that's what they're hoping for at Disney. The official announcement is expected from Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger during a Jan. 8 keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Details of the new site have been leaking out for months, mostly through well-placed hints that Iger and Disney's chief financial officer, Thomas Staggs, have dropped to analysts and investors at various conferences. "Will Disney.com be sort of a 2- to 15-year-old portal the way News Corp.'s MySpace is to 12[-year-olds] to twentysomethings?" Iger asked rhetorically during a recent New York media conference. "Well, one of the features it will have is a customized point of entry" much like MySpace, he said.

Such customization would enable kids to log on to a world tailored to their needsówith Disney characters and games and eventually with movies to be downloaded from the Disney Channel or other company outletsówhile teens could log on to take a shot at a new array of online games that the site will also offer. Iger has said that kids will be able to swap music lists, send messages to one another, and do other things that qualify as social networking in the new MySpace-style Disney.com.
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