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9/24/2010
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Disney Introduces Social Media Site

Let The Memories Begin offers guests a site to share photo, video or text memories and allows Disney to use the content in advertising and marketing.

Extending its use of social media beyond its acquisition of Playdom and its relationship with Twitter, Disney on Thursday kicked-off an ad campaign that uses Facebook, YouTube and MySpace to capture and share visitors' home movies and photographs at Disney Parks Let The Memories Begin, an online destination where consumers can upload their Disney vacation photos and videos.

Guests can share their photography, video or text memories at DisneyParks.com/Memories; Facebook.com/WaltDisneyWorld; Facebook.com/Disneyland; Youtube.com/DisneyMemories or Myspace.com/DisneyParks. After hitting submit, Disney will review the content, and then store and share it.

According to the site terms of use, those submitting content grant Disney "a perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully-paid, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable (in whole or part) worldwide license" to the content "for any and all purposes including entertainment, news, advertising, promotional, marketing, publicity, trade or commercial purposes."

"So, what should you submit? Your favorite memories -- whether it was a first meeting with a Disney princess, a laugh-filled Splash Mountain ride or a magical moment around a holiday fireplace when mom and dad surprised everyone with a "We're Going to Disney!" announcement -- We're looking for videos and photos that capture your never-to-be-forgotten experiences," said Thomas Smith, social media director at Disney Parks, in a company blog.

In January 2011, Disney will expand its use of visitors' pictures when it projects guests' selected photographs onto Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World and "It's a Small World" at Disneyland Resort, he said.

"In both locations, Disney PhotoPass photographers will provide images of guests shot during the day to be shared on the icons. While we're still working on the show details, producers estimate as many as 500 photos will be shown in each location every day," said Smith.

Other changes may be afoot: Today, Steve Wadsworth, who became president of Disney's internet group in 1999, announced his resignation. Despite an overhaul in 2007, the division -- which oversees Club Penguin, a social media site for children -- has struggled to become profitable, according to reports

In July, Disney disclosed its plan to acquire Playdom, maker of online games such as Mobsters, Social City and Market Street, and iPhone game developer Tapulous. Disney expects Playdom's expertise in social gaming software tools, business intelligence and rapid innovation to benefit Disney Interactive Media Group, which already has a substantial global presence in online, console and mobile gaming, DIMG said in a July statement.

"This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer," said Robert Iger, president and CEO, in a release.

Also in July, Disney became Twitter's first earlybird exclusive, when it offered @earlybird and @DisneyPictures' followers a 2-for-1 deal on tickets to The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Earlier in the year, the company hosted the sold-out Disney Social Media Moms Conference.

A month earlier, Disney created an application that allowed people to purchase tickets to Toy Story 3 from Facebook, without leaving the site. When people bought a ticket using Disney Tickets Together, the app alerted friends.

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