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Walt Disney World (WDW) News Discuss Disney to enter cellphone market, with kids in mind in the News & Rumors forums; Disney to enter cellphone market, with kids in mind -- WSJ </B> By JESSE DRUCKER and MERISSA MARR Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL July 6, 2005 Is that ...
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    Disney to enter cellphone market, with kids in mind

    Disney to enter cellphone market, with kids in mind -- WSJ </B>

    By JESSE DRUCKER and MERISSA MARR
    Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    July 6, 2005

    Is that your cellphone ringing -- or your 8-year-old's?

    Walt Disney Co. announced early Wednesday that it is entering the cellular business, targeting families with a wireless service under its own brand that will seek to sell cellphones to children and their parents.

    The service, to be called Disney Mobile, will travel over the wireless network of Sprint Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone operator in terms of subscribers. But the phones and service will carry the Disney brand and be sold by Disney.

    The move is part of a bigger push by Disney into the cellphone industry. In December, ESPN, which is majority-owned by Disney, announced a similar deal with Sprint, targeting sports fans with sports content on their ESPN-branded wireless phones using Sprint's wireless network.

    All the major wireless carriers offer family add-on plans that allow subscribers to add their children, in some cases, for as little as $10 a month extra. By contrast, Disney says its service will be solely aimed at the needs of the family. It therefore could be the first to appeal to children, potentially pressuring parents to pick a carrier based on the desires of their children.

    Disney's newest plans are to tap into its loyal family audience and reputation for delivering children's entertainment to capture a big slice of what it sees as an underserved market for family-focused services. "There is a strong business opportunity here," said Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group. "We bring a lot of unique understanding of this market."

    Disney will target parents with a service that caters to their desire to ensure the safety of their kids and to keep in contact with them. Mr. Wadsworth said the service would offer features specifically designed for parents and their children, but wouldn't elaborate.

    As U.S. cellular penetration rates increase, the move by Disney and Sprint indicates how the industry is increasingly relying on new customer segments for growth. Cellular operator Virgin Mobile USA LLC, partly owned by Sprint, already targets teenagers. But Disney Mobile could be targeting children as young as 8 years old, said John Garcia, Sprint's senior vice president of consumer sales and distribution.

    "Disney is fully capable of focusing on that market and causing an acceleration" of growth, Mr. Garcia said.

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    As if we need kids any younger picking up mobile phones...

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    Well, they already are...

    After the ESPN deal, I predicted that they'd also do a more generic "Disney" branded service. Guess my gut feeling was right.

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    But...can't us big kids use it???
    I am in need of some Disney magic!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaRain
    Disney to enter cellphone market, with kids in mind -- WSJ </B>

    By JESSE DRUCKER and MERISSA MARR
    Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    July 6, 2005

    Is that your cellphone ringing -- or your 8-year-old's?

    Walt Disney Co. announced early Wednesday that it is entering the cellular business, targeting families with a wireless service under its own brand that will seek to sell cellphones to children and their parents.

    The service, to be called Disney Mobile, will travel over the wireless network of Sprint Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone operator in terms of subscribers. But the phones and service will carry the Disney brand and be sold by Disney.

    The move is part of a bigger push by Disney into the cellphone industry. In December, ESPN, which is majority-owned by Disney, announced a similar deal with Sprint, targeting sports fans with sports content on their ESPN-branded wireless phones using Sprint's wireless network.

    All the major wireless carriers offer family add-on plans that allow subscribers to add their children, in some cases, for as little as $10 a month extra. By contrast, Disney says its service will be solely aimed at the needs of the family. It therefore could be the first to appeal to children, potentially pressuring parents to pick a carrier based on the desires of their children.

    Disney's newest plans are to tap into its loyal family audience and reputation for delivering children's entertainment to capture a big slice of what it sees as an underserved market for family-focused services. "There is a strong business opportunity here," said Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group. "We bring a lot of unique understanding of this market."

    Disney will target parents with a service that caters to their desire to ensure the safety of their kids and to keep in contact with them. Mr. Wadsworth said the service would offer features specifically designed for parents and their children, but wouldn't elaborate.

    As U.S. cellular penetration rates increase, the move by Disney and Sprint indicates how the industry is increasingly relying on new customer segments for growth. Cellular operator Virgin Mobile USA LLC, partly owned by Sprint, already targets teenagers. But Disney Mobile could be targeting children as young as 8 years old, said John Garcia, Sprint's senior vice president of consumer sales and distribution.

    "Disney is fully capable of focusing on that market and causing an acceleration" of growth, Mr. Garcia said.
    This is grrreat!!! Maybe regular Sprint PCS customers can get Disney phones too?

    P.S. Eight years old? How about 5-6? My DD says her Kgn. students use cellphones all the time. Now they can have a Disney one of their own!!!
    Last edited by Jiminy Cricket; 07-07-2005 at 12:45 AM.
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    It's got to be a really cute phone for me to switch...`cause I really love my cell phone!

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    Disney Teams With Sprint To Offer National Wireless Service For Families

    Taps High-Speed Sprint Nationwide PCS Network for Service

    NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — 07/06/2005 The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) and Sprint (NYSE: FON) today announced an agreement through which Disney will create the first national U.S. wireless phone service specifically designed for families. The service, called Disney Mobile, will use the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network and is slated to launch next year.

    Disney Mobile plans to offer a comprehensive mobile service, including wireless voice service, exclusive handsets and a package of features and applications tailored to meet the unique communication needs of families. The service will also include a range of entertainment content for the family. “Disney Mobile will combine Disney’s heritage of quality and unparalleled brand equity in the family market with Sprint’s leadership in wireless voice and data services to create an engaging and easy-to-use mobile experience,” said Steve Wadsworth, president, WDIG. “This enhanced mobile service offering will ensure Disney’s place as a leader in the family mobile market, one of the fastest growing segments of the mobile industry. We'll be in investment mode for the next several years, but expect that over the long run this initiative will generate solid financial returns for the company.”

    Disney will be responsible for all aspects of the service, including product development, distribution, marketing, customer relations, billing and other business operations.

    For Sprint, a world-class provider of telecom services, the agreement with Disney complements its strong brand image as a leading retail provider and provides an opportunity for a new generation of compelling services specifically designed for families. Sprint has excelled in capitalizing on its

    Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy, with a proven track record of partnering with key national brands to expand its unique assets to more users beyond its traditional customer base.

    “As one of the most powerful brands in media and entertainment, Disney Mobile will appeal to families and loyal fans who want an immediate way to enrich and personalize their wireless communications experience,” said Tim Kelly, president, Sprint Consumer Solutions. “Combining Disney’s family-friendly content and applications with the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network will help spur consumer demand for data services within this important segment.”

    The newly formed Disney Mobile business is part of Walt Disney Internet Group and will be led by Senior Vice President and General Manager George Grobar, who reports to Steve Wadsworth. Grobar is a ten-year Disney veteran including recent positions as VP and GM of Disney Auctions and NASCAR Store Online, and VP with the DisneyStore.com. Prior to Disney he spent nearly a decade in finance and product planning in the computer industry.

    WDIG entered the mobile arena in 2000 with the launch of Disney branded content including graphics, ring tones, games and utilities on NTT DoCoMo in Japan. It will continue to distribute its mobile content through carriers and distributors globally.

    In 2004, Disney’s ESPN unit announced it would launch the first U.S. wireless phone service specifically targeted to sports fans.

    Consumers can register to receive service information and updates at www.disneymobile.com.

    About Sprint
    Sprint offers an extensive range of innovative communication products and solutions, including global IP, wireless, local and multiproduct bundles. A Fortune 100 company with more than $27 billion in annual revenues in 2004, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network; an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone; and one of the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide wireless networks in the United States. For more information, visit www.sprint.com/mr.

    About Walt Disney Internet Group
    Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) provides strategic leadership and operational management for The Walt Disney Company's (NYSEIS) Internet properties including category leaders Disney.com, ESPN.com and ABCNEWS.com. A market leader in developing and distributing entertainment and informational content to new platforms, WDIG is committed to creating and delivering products for broadband distribution including: ABC News On Demand, a subscription video news service that offers the Internet's first 24-hour, live Internet-only news channel and top ABC News programs for on demand viewing; Disney Connection; and WDIG Motion, a proprietary video technology for broadband users. Through relationships with some of the world's largest wireless carriers, WDIG distributes content and services to wireless users under the Disney brand.

    Additionally, WDIG has led the way in developing interactive content for televised programming through its Enhanced TV service. Steve Wadsworth is president of WDIG, which is headquartered in North Hollywood and has operations in Budapest, London, New York, Orlando, Fla., Seattle and Tokyo. CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
    This news release includes certain estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements. Future performance cannot be ensured. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The words "estimate," "project," "intend," "expect," "believe" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release. Disney and Sprint are not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this news release or unforeseen events. Disney and Sprint provide detailed discussions of risk factors in their periodic SEC filings, including those identified in Disney's and Sprint’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K.


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    "Maybe regular Sprint PCS customers can get Disney phones too "

    As far as the customer is concerned, it won't be related to Sprint at all.. I doubt there will be much crossover like that (but you never know)...

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    From what I understand, you would be purchasing your phone and service from Disney. Sprint would be the service provider that you don't see in the background....

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    So, slightly offtopic, but I just got the Mobile ESPN phone today, and it's actually really cool. You deal directly with Mobile ESPN, in no way Sprint.

    I can also get people a decent deal if they're interested in the Mobile ESPN service (and if you have any questions on it, I might be able to answer) - including a free phone, and 3 months free..

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    A cast member was telling me some of the highlights of the plan. The phones can be set up with limited phone minutes and messaging per month. The phone can still be used for emergency numbers, when the limites are reached,that the parent can program into the plan. It's a plan with families in mind. Of course it will have lots of Disney bell tones and screen savers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mini-V
    A cast member was telling me some of the highlights of the plan. The phones can be set up with limited phone minutes and messaging per month. The phone can still be used for emergency numbers, when the limites are reached,that the parent can program into the plan. It's a plan with families in mind. Of course it will have lots of Disney bell tones and screen savers.
    Also, you can log on the internet and track where you child is with it's built in GPS.

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    Me and my wife have the phones. ( Just being big Disney nuts were the reason! ) We love them, very nice, and an incredible amount of Disney themes ( I just put pirates of the caribbean on the phone.) and great ringtones! Very cool stuff.



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    What on earth does an 8 year old need a cell phone for?
    Even if they are going to a sleepover or on a trip or something, won't they at all times be with an adult who most likely has a cell phone? It is just ridiculous.


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    I think 8 year olds might be a bit young, but I know certain situations where you need a cell phone. Like being picked up after school, if you need to stay after, camp, or something like that. But it does seem too young.

    Oh! And while we are on the topic of cell phones...I just got my cell phone a few weeks ago from Hong Kong! It was first made for the opening of Disney Hong Kong, and now you can buy them. IT was pretty exspensive, but totally worth it!


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