The digital arm of Disney is gearing up to launch a UK version of family.com.
UKfamily.com – see what they’ve done there? – will soft launch on July 1 and this will be followed by a public launch later that same month.
Parenting websites have been springing up all over the place in recent times – take your pick from magazine tie-ins like askamum.co.uk, BBC Worldwide’s Parenting, retailing spin-offs like gurgle.co.uk, iVillage and old hands like the Mumsnet forum. Internet-based parenting is big business these days, little wonder that Disney wants its share of the market.
So what makes Disney’s contribution any different?
Well, it is Disney for a start – beloved of parents the world over for their safe, responsible and respectable brand.
From High School Musical through to the Jonas Brothers, Disney’s digital output is a global phenomenon to rank alongside its traditional bread and butter – the classic cartoons and animation that has captured the imagination of generations. But it is probably still best not to mention Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) and those Vanity Fair photographs, although Billy-Ray’s little girl has a habit of being surrounded by controversy.
Such blips are skillfully air-brushed by the Disney machine, but it is getting harder to quieten the dissent doing the rounds in the blogosphere.
There are those who maintain that Disney’s clever use of new media platforms and targeting of Tweenies is further proof that one of the world’s most trusted brands is also one of the most slyly manipulative.
We are being constantly told at the moment about how much help modern parents need – from choosing the right diet for their children, to helping them learn and understand and tackling just about all of the ills affecting modern society. Being a parent these days seems a thankless job.
And yet I’m not sure Disney’s ad-fuelled ukfamily.co.uk, coming to a computer screen near you soon, will provide the right answers to all these difficult questions.