Disney Interactive

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Disney Interactive
Subsidiary of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Industry Video game industry
Internet Information Providers
Founded 1995; 21 years ago (1995) [1]
Headquarters Glendale, California[2], United States
Number of locations
Key people
James Pitaro, President[3]
Products Video games
Digital Networks
Revenue US$982 million[4]
$308 million loss (2011)[4]
Number of employees
2,000 (March 2014)[5]
Parent Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
(The Walt Disney Company)
Subsidiaries Go.com
Maker Studios[6]
Website disneyinteractive.com
Disney Interactive headquarters in Glendale

Disney Interactive, formerly known as Disney Interactive Media Group and Walt Disney Internet Group, is an American company that oversees various websites and interactive media owned by The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries.[1]


In December 1994, Disney announced that it was establishing a new division dedicated to publishing computer and video game console software, called Disney Interactive.[7] The initial staff consisted of 200 newly hired employees.[7] The company was formally established in mid-1995.[8] On August 23, 1995, Disney Interactive formed Disney Online unit.[9]

Buena Vista Internet Group[edit]

Disney purchased a one-third share of Starwave on April 3, 1997, for $100 million.[10] Disney in January 1998 registered go.com.[11] Exercising its options, Disney purchased the outstanding shares of Starwave from Paul Allen in April 1998.[12] In June 1998, Disney purchased 43% ownership of Infoseek in exchange for Starwave and $70 million.[13] Infoseek and Disney Online joint ventured in developing the Go Network, an internet portal.[14] With Disney's purchase of the remainder of Infoseek in July 1999, the Go Network, Infoseek, the Disney Catalog, Disney Online (Disney.com and DisneyStore.com), ABC News Internet Ventures and ESPN Internet Ventures and Buena Vista Internet Group are merged into the Go.com company.[15]

In August 1996, BVIG took a controlling in interest in toysmart.com with three directors on the board. Toysmart would be granted marketing support including free advertising on BVIG websites like family.com.[16] After an attempted round of financing, Toysmart.com shut down in May 2000.[17]

In June 1999, the Disney Internet Guide is abandoned.[18] The Go.com portal was shut down in 2001 at a cost of $878 million in charges.[19]

In 2004, Disney re-activated the Starwave identity as Starwave Mobile, which publishes casual games for mobile phones for non-Disney brands with in Disney conglomerate or from third party.[20] In December 2004 and partnered with Indiagames, the Walt Disney Internet Group released Disney games, wallpapers and ringtones in the Indian market which is also available on AirTel.[21]

The group purchased Living Mobile, a European mobile game developer and publisher in November 2005.[22]

Interactive Media Group[edit]

On June 5, 2008, Disney Interactive Studios and the Walt Disney Internet Group, merged into a single business unit now known as the Disney Interactive Media Group.[23] In 2009, DIMG's Disney Online unit purchased from Kaboose multiple websites.[24]

In July 2010, Disney Interactive purchased Playdom for $563.2 million[25] and Tapulous for its Mobile division.[4] On July 1, Disney Interactive announced it had acquired Tapulous, the studio behind the Tap Tap Revenge franchise for iOS.[26] In October, two co-presidents were named for DIMG, John Pleasants and James Pitaro, with orders to make the company profitable.[27]

In January 2011, DIMG closed its Propaganda Games game studio and laid off 200 employees later in the month. The dual presidents placed the game studios of Blackrock, Junction Point, Avalanche, Wideload and Gamestar under its new game development chief Alex Seropian while Penguin creator Lane Merrifield was assigned to game initiatives for kids and families within a new publishing unit to handle marketing and production.[27] On February 18, DIMG purchased Togetherville, a pre-teen social network.[28] Also in February, Disney purchased Finland based, Rocket Pack, a game development company with a plugin free game development system.[29] In November, DIMG purchased Babble Media Inc.[30]

In April 2012, the Group announced three web series targeted towards mothers: "Moms of", "That's Fresh", and "Thinking Up."[31] By October, DIMG had 15 consecutive quarters of losses totaling some $977 million.[19] Lane Merrifield, the founder of Club Penguin, resigned after conflict with Pleasants. DIMG also in October announced "Toy Box", a cross platform gaming initiative where Pixar and Disney characters will interact from a console game to multiple mobile and online applications.[19]

Disney Interactive[edit]

In May 2012, Disney Interactive Media Group changed its name to Disney Interactive (DI).[citation needed]

In January 2013, Disney Interactive Games' Avalanche Software unveiled the Toy Box cross platform game as Disney Infinity, based on Toy Story 3: The Video Game's "Toy Box" mode crossed with a toy line.[32] Also in January, Disney Interactive announced the closure of Junction Point Studios.[33]

In October 2013, Disney announced it Interactive division had a profit for its September Quarter of $16 million based partly on sale of Disney Infinity and uniting both halves of the division under one president.[3]

In March 2014, Disney Interactive announced it was laying off 700 people, or one-fourth of its staff as DI combines its two-game units, mobile and social due to sagging popularity of Facebook games, and closing some Disney Online sites. They said will focus less on advertising and more on sponsorships for Disney Online and licensed game development. While some endeavors have shown profitability, such as an app in Japan and the combined game and toy line Infinity, the segment as a whole is unprofitable for Disney.[5]

Disney Interactive was merged with Disney Consumer Products on June 29, 2015, forming a new segment and division known as "Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media" with Disney Interactive as a direct unit.[34] In December 2015, Maker Studios was placed under the control of Disney Interactive with the appointment of Maker head executive vice president Courtney Holt reporting to Jimmy Pitaro, president of Disney Interactive.[35]

With a lack of growth in toy-to-game market and increasing developmental costs, in May 2016, Disney Interactive discontinued Disney Infinity and closed down the unit that developed Infinity, Avalanche. Also, the company ended all self-publishing efforts. A discontinuation charge of $147 million for ending its console gaming business affected earning.[36]


Disney Online[edit]

Disney Online
Industry Internet
Founded August 23, 1995
Headquarters United States
Products websites
Parent Disney Interactive
  • Disney Family Network
  • DigiSynd
Website www.disneyinteractive.com

Disney Online is a division of Disney Interactive that operates most of Disney online portfolio.

Disney Online History[edit]

On August 23, 1995, Disney Interactive formed Disney Online unit with the naming of Jake Winebaum as president of Disney Online.[9] On November 19, 1996, the opening of DisneyStore.com was open under Disney Online business unit. The family.com website is launched on December 9, 1996.[38]

Disney announced on April 18, 1997 that it will purchase Starwave's Family Planet Web site and merge it with Family.com.[39] The Disney Daily Blast (dailyblast.com) web site is official launched on April 23 under a subscription plan and daily content targeted to younger viewers.[39][40]

In July 1998, Disney Online announced dig.com, Disney Internet Guide, a child friendly web directory[41] which launched in June 1998[42] and closed one year later in June to focus on Infoseek/Go Network.[43]

In late 2007, DIMG purchased IParenting Media's websites.[30] Disney sold movies.com to Fandango in June 2008.[44] Disney Online purchased in 2008 Take 180 from Chris Williams, who stays on until April 2012 as vice president and general manager of Disney Online Originals, which has Take 180 as creative hub.[45] In 2009, DIMG's Disney Online unit purchased from Kaboose multiple websites including: Kaboose.com, Babyzone.com, AmazingMoms.com, Funschool.com and Zeeks.com, and place them into its Disney Family Network.[2][24] Disney.com purchased Kerpoof in February 2009.[46]

In November 2011, DIMG purchased Babble Media Inc. to add it to the Mom and Family Portfolio.[30] In March 2014, Disney Interactive announced it was laying off 700 people, or one-fourth of its staff as DI closed smaller Disney Online sites including BabyZone.com and Spoonful.com. They said will focus less on advertising and more on sponsorships for Disney Online to fit the experience Disney wishes to offer.[5]

Online units[edit]

  • disney.com
  • Disney Family Network websites[2] - also called Mom and Family Portfolio
  • DigiSynd, social media marketing


  1. ^ a b c "Company Overview of Disney Interactive". Private Company Information. business Week. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Disney Online Company Profile". Yahoo/Hoover. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Richwine, Lisa. (November 11, 2013) REFILE-UPDATE 2-Disney games co-president named consultant as unit consolidates. Reuters. Accessed on November 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Goldman Getzler, Wendy (February 1, 2012). "Disney Mobile raises the bar". kidscreen.com. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Barnes, Brooks (March 6, 2014). "Disney's Game and Internet Division Cuts One-Quarter of Its Work Force". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ Shields, Mike (2015-12-15). "Maker Studios Head to Step Down". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  7. ^ a b "Disney Rides Solo". GamePro. IDG (68): 154. March 1995. 
  8. ^ "Disney Enters Video Game Market!". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (74): 56. September 1995. 
  9. ^ a b "WINEBAUM NAMED PRESIDENT OF NEW DISNEY ONLINE UNIT". PR Newswire. Disney. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Volume 146, Number 50752.". New York Times. April 4, 1997. p. C4. 
  11. ^ Polsson, Ken. "1998". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. kpolsson.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.  source: CNet News.com.
  12. ^ Pelline, Jeff; Dawn Kawamoto (April 30, 1998). "Disney to buy Starwave". CNET News. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ Tedesco, Richard (June 22, 1998). "Disney stakes big 'Net claim with Infoseek". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ Tedesco, Richard (December 14, 1998). "Disney, Infoseek give green light". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Disney absorbs Infoseek". Money. CNNfn. July 12, 1999. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  16. ^ Gelsi, Steve. (August 25, 1999 ). Disney plays with Toysmart.com. Marketwatch.com.
  17. ^ DeMott, Rick. (May 26, 2000). Disney's Toysmart Newest Site To Go Offline. Animation World Network.
  18. ^ (April 2000). Premiere. Volume 13, Number 8. Accessed April 18, 2016.
  19. ^ a b c Barnes, Brooks (October 21, 2012). "Disney, Struggling to Find Its Digital Footing, Overhauls Disney.com". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "New Disney Group To Offer Third-Party Mobile Content". The Online Reporter. October 30, 2004. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  21. ^ Bhattacharjee, Manisha (April 25, 2005). "Disney's Eisner, Iger in India; to meet PM & President". Indiantelevision.com. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Walt Disney Internet Group expands European mobile content operations; acquires Living Mobile". Indiantelevision.com. November 8, 2005. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Disney's games and internet divisions merging", Joystiq.com, 2008.
  24. ^ a b "Disney Online Buys Kaboose Assets For $18.4 Million, Barclays Private Equity Limited Acquires Its UK Operations". TechCrunch.com. April 1, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Chmielewski, Dawn C. (July 28, 2010). "Disney to buy Playdom Inc. for $563.2 million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Disney acquires Tapulous" from Techcrunch.com
  27. ^ a b Chmielewski, Dawn C. (January 26, 2011). "Disney Interactive lays off 200 as video game unit shifts focus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  28. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (February 25, 2011). "Disney buys social networking site Togetherville". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Butcher, Mike (March 3, 2011). "Disney acquires gaming engine startup to build HTML5 games outside of App stores". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b c d Chmielewski, Dawn C. (November 15, 2011). "Disney buys parenting website Babble". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  31. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (April 27, 2012). "Disney Interactive targets moms with original series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  32. ^ Lang, Derrik J. (January 15, 2013). "Disney unveils own 'Skylanders'-like franchise". Business Week. AP. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  33. ^ Lang, Derrik J. (January 29, 2013). "Disney closing 'Epic Mickey' video game developer". Washington Times. AP. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ Futter, Mike (June 29, 2015). "Disney Merges Interactive And Consumer Products Divisions For Toys To Life Superpower". Game Informer. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  35. ^ Lieberman, David (December 15, 2015). "Disney Taps Courtney Holt To Replace Ynon Kreiz As Head Of Maker Studios". Deadline. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  36. ^ Macy, Seth G. (May 10, 2016). "Disney Cancels Infinity, No Longer Self-Publishing Games". IGN. Retrieved May 10, 2016. This means that we will be shutting down Avalanche, our internal studio that developed the game. 
  37. ^ "About Us". Disney Interactive Media Group Press Room. Disney. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  38. ^ "July-December 1996". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. Retrieved November 26, 2012.  Source: CNet News.com, http://archive.is/20130102120941/http://www.news.cnet.com/
  39. ^ a b "July-December 1996". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. Retrieved November 26, 2012.  Source: CNet News.com, http://archive.is/20130102120941/http://www.news.cnet.com/
  40. ^ "Volume 146, Number 50748". The New York Times,. March 31, 1997. pp. D5. 
  41. ^ Bensko, Jennifer (July 6, 1998). "A Web of Their Own". Newsweek. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  42. ^ "1998". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. Retrieved November 26, 2012.  Source: CNet News.com, http://archive.is/20130102120941/http://www.news.cnet.com/
  43. ^ Hu, Jim (August 9, 1999). "Disney quietly shutters family Net guide". CNET News. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  44. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (June 24, 2008). "Fandango acquires Movies.com". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  45. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (April 4, 2012). "Disney exec ankles for Maker Studios". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  46. ^ Avery, Greg (February 20, 2009). "Disney reveals Kerpoof purchase". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°09′52″N 118°22′30″W / 34.16444°N 118.37500°W / 34.16444; -118.37500