I haven’t been able to get any previews of the new Disney.com makeover, but the Wall Street Journal was given a glimpse. Their report today has screen shots of the new site and concentrates on one market Disney is looking to capture, kids and young adults who are used to multi-tasking while online. So the goal is to offer games, chat, and a myspace like experience for the Disney set while offering the type of parental controls needed for safe computing.
Mr. Iger says the new Disney.com is "the single most important companywide strategy Disney is currently implementing." Disney’s Internet chief Steve Wadsworth refers to it as the new "front door" to Disney’s sprawling world of television shows, movies, toys, video games and theme parks. Having made his mark so far as Disney’s CEO by pushing an aggressive vision for the digital world, Mr. Iger sees the new site as a central hub for Disney programming.
Is it too late for Disney to get in this game? That’s hard to say. There won’t be any way to add outside content to Disney.com, at least at first. So it will have to rely on the stickiness of Disney’s own content. It would probably be a good idea for the site to focus on mini-communities then. A High School Musical virtual High School (so tweens can live the glorious life of a high schooler, I guess) or Hannah Montana’s Hangout. Trickle out just enough new content, previews, and exclusive clips to keep kids coming back to the site, and provide easy ways for them to discuss together in communities and in chat, and it might work.
Since the Wall Street Journal article doesn’t mention it, I am left hoping that Disney will try to do more with the travel section than just trip reservations. They’ve been doing some interesting stuff in that area on one-off mini-sites. It would be nice to see it all tied together with the new interface.