Feeds

Disney immobilizes Disney Mobile

Family Center = Bambi's mum

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

First it killed Bambi's mother. And now it's decided to kill a fourteen-month-old wireless service.

Today, the Walt Disney Company said it will soon shut down Disney Mobile, the US-based wireless service it offers on bandwidth rented from Sprint Nextel. Unhappy with life as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), the company has already put the kibosh on sales of Disney Mobile, and those already using the service will get the boot on December 31.

Basically, the let's-rent-some-bandwidth model didn't pan out the way the company expected. "The MVNO model has proven, as we’ve seen with other companies this past year, to be a difficult proposition in the hyper-competitive US mobile phone market," said Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney's internet group. "In assessing our business model, we decided that changing strategies was a better alternative to pursue profitable growth in the mobile services area."

What's the new strategy? The company still believes in Disney Mobile's Family Center suite - which lets parents keep close tabs on their kids - and it hopes to move the suite onto someone else's mobile service via a licensing deal.

According to a company spokesman, recent changes in the mobile market made licensing far more attractive than MVNO. With the major carriers signing exclusive deals with big-name retailers, he told us, it became more and more difficult for Disney to compete. Verizon, for instance, has teamed up with Circuit City.

"A lot changed while we were ramping up the service in terms of the distribution landscape. We came to the conclusions that given all the changes in the retail model of the major carriers, it didn't make sense for us to undergo the investment needed to overcome the obstacles that cropped up."

This is hardly new territory for Disney. In February last year, the company launched ESPN Mobile, an MVNO service that dovetailed with its popular cable TV sports network/hype machine. This rental network was shutdown after just 11 months, and Disney stomached $30m in losses. Today, the company offers ESPN Mobile applications over the Verizon Wireless network.

As it seeks a similar licensing deal for Family Center, Disney will throw some dough at current users and help them transition to other services. "We will be communicating directly with customers about reimbursement for their handsets and their accessories," the company told us. "We'll also assist them find a new service and port their content over - if they like."

What's the financial damage this time around? Disney won't say. But it's fiscal year ends over the weekend, and an earning statement is just around the corner. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.