Feeds

Disney immobilizes Disney Mobile

Family Center = Bambi's mum

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.