Disney Puts Some 'Fun' in Family.com

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Walt Disney Co. will fold Family.com, which attracts an estimated 1.1 million unique visitors each month, into its FamilyFun.com site effective Monday.


The revamped FamilyFun.com will include popular departments from Family.com and was not a cost-cutting move, according to Disney.


"This is about growing our business," said Ken Goldstein, executive vice president and managing director at Disney Online, North Hollywood, CA. "This has no bearing on cost-cutting or restructuring."


Launched in 1996, Family.com was designed for busy mothers looking for "quick answers, fun ideas and sensible solutions for life's everyday challenges," Disney said in a statement.


But like many Internet properties of media companies, and despite innovative deals with marketers such as Pillsbury Co., Disney's sites are being evaluated for their best use.


"First of all, there was no shuttering of anything," Goldstein said. "We took one product, enhanced it with additional features and editorial, and rebranded it with our existing brand, FamilyFun."


Still, Disney seeks more mileage and revenue out of its online properties in conjunction with offline assets. For example, it will offer FamilyFun advertisers special cross-promotional packages to run advertisements in the magazine and on the site.


All in all, the change is part of Disney's attempt to develop FamilyFun across multiple platforms.


Launched 11 years ago, FamilyFun claims to be the nation's largest magazine aimed at families with children ages 3 to 12. It is also one of the nation's fastest growing, with a circulation increase of 100,000 each year since its launch.


Published by Disney's Buena Vista Magazines Inc. arm, the title has a rate base of 1.55 million.


FamilyFun covers family travel, learning projects, entertainment and other family activities. The new Web site will reflect that. It will also feature the Solutions Center for parents seeking real-time answers to questions posed.


Disney plans a variety of promotional efforts to increase visits, including marketing the Web site in FamilyFun magazine.


In what is sure to propel consumer interest, FamilyFun will be featured on the home page of flagship Disney.com, the leading online destination for children's entertainment.


ABCFamily.com, the online home of the ABC Family channel, will drive traffic to FamilyFun.com and include content from that site too. By adding FamilyFun.com content, it will transform from primarily a promotional platform to a family destination site.


In television support, ABC Family will run 30-second spots through February to announce FamilyFun.com's debut.


Online, Disney will run an Online Family Connections contest, inviting consumers to submit their best story on how they have used the Internet to stay in touch with family or track long-lost loved ones.


But as these changes take place, Beth Collins, most recently vice president and general manager at Walt Disney Internet Group in charge of Family.com and FamilyFun.com, will not be there to supervise. She is now vice president and group director at the New York-based Parenting Group, an arm of AOL Time Warner's Time Inc.


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