Disney Pitches App Strategy, New Digital Projects

Talking-FriendsAlong with some fresh programming, Disney Interactive used its NewFront presentation on Thursday to sell its app strategy and expanding digital reach.      

Covering all the high-volume bases, the media giant said its video content has attracted more than 2 billion views on YouTube, while its various properties have accumulated over 500 million fans on Facebook.

“We are relentlessly focusing on a quality Disney experience … as we build out an interactive experience that is everywhere our guests are,” James Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive, said Thursday.

Among Disney’s bigger Web successes, “Talking Friends” -- an online series based on Disney’s “Talking Friends” apps -- has been viewed more than 130 million times on YouTube, while the digital series “Swampy’s Underground Adventures” has been viewed more than 27 million times.

New projects unveiled on Thursday include “Blank: A Love Story” -- a Web series based on Vinylmation, the vinyl collectible toys born from Disney characters; “Celebrity Pet Psychic,” which features star “animal communicator” Sonya Fitzpatrick; and “Citizen Kid” -- a series about ordinary kids who doing extraordinary things with their lives and in their communities.

Other new digital projects include “Unfiltered with Cole Plante,” which follows the 16-year-old techno deejay; “D'Fied” -- A weekly show highlighting the best of “Disney-inspired” style; “Digitales” -- a finger puppet theater series; and “It's a Small World,” which is based on the “It’s A Small World” theme park attraction, and features a magical hot-air balloon and its world travels.

Despite its vast resources, Disney’s digital strategy has been slow to evolve. The company’s gaming, mobile and Web division failed to post a profit for years, and, late last year, the company that Mickey built revamped its online hub, Disney.com, for the third time in five years.

Despite intense competition for the hearts and minds of young consumers, however, the Disney brand continues to hold it own. Social analytics firm General Sentiment recently reported that Disney generated $177 million in media value -- determined by sentiment, frequency and exposure of news mentions and social dialogue -- during the first quarter of the year.

Overall, Disney posted $42.3 billion in revenue in 2012, which, according to media researcher SNL Kagan, made it the most valuable media company last year.

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