Thursday, August 02, 2007

Club Penguin to be Disneyfied

News via Gary Rusak at Kidscreen that Disney has announced it will be acquiring Club Penguin, for a reported $350 million (which could grow to $700 million (USD) if goals/promises are met). Rusak writes:
What likely attracted Disney is that Club Penguin has seemed to crack the code of making digital platforms pay in the kids space. Since its launch in October 2005, the site has signed on more than 700,000 subscribers who willingly pay the US$5.95 fee every month, and it currently has more than 12 million activated users, primarily between ages six and 14, in the US and Canada. The site will be re-dubbed Disney's Club Penguin, but will retain its URL (www.clubpenguin.com) and continue to operate from its Kelowna, Canada base.

While the company's founders will remain in control of the site, and Disney says that it has "no immediate plans" to change Club Penguin's contents or mode of operation, I have a pretty good feeling that this is going to significantly transform the property. Either we'll soon be seeing Club Penguin merchandise at the Disney Store, or else some sort of movie or television deal, or some other imprint of what media scholars like Janet Wasko and Alan Bryman have termed "Disneyfication". In the meantime, you can read the whole article here.

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