DISNEY GETS READY FOR ‘WONDERTIME’

Parenting Title Faces a Crowded Category

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Walt Disney Co., an avid hunter of children worldwide, is ready to deliver its new lure for adults: Wondertime, a high-design title that Disney Publishing Worldwide hopes will carve some room in an already-bustling parenting-magazine space, arrives on newsstands Feb. 14.
The first issue of Wondertime, which begins life as a quarterly with guaranteed circulation of 300,000, will include almost 70 pages of ads.

Early indications
Early indications for Wondertime, Disney Publishing’s first launch in 12 years, are good, according to Glenn Rosenbloom, senior VP-group publisher: “We’re more than pleased with the response we’ve received from the advertising community.”

The first issue will include almost 70 pages of ads, including 11 pages from Hasbro. Other advertisers include Fruit of the Loom, General Mills, Holiday Inn, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark and Kraft.

And an enormous direct-mail operation that began last month, combined with marketing partnerships with other Disney properties, such as Buena Vista Home Entertainment, has already generated subscribers, although Mr. Rosenbloom declined to say how many. Disney also publishes Family Fun, a parenting title it acquired in 1991, and has built that brand out into a Web site and series of books.

The competition
But Wondertime, which begins life as a quarterly with guaranteed circulation of 300,000, still faces an enormous competitive set. Conde Nast Publications recently began publishing Cookie, a notably upscale version of a family-lifestyle book. And parents already welcome, or fend off, subscription offers from Meredith Corp.’s American Baby, Child, Parents and Ser Padres; Time Inc.’s BabyTalk and Parenting; and Working Mother from Working Mother Media. Parents and Parenting alone claim average paid circulation of about 2 million each.

At the same time, smaller players are hoping to shoulder into the big parenting party. GiftPax Media is introducing a magazine called New Family, First Year Guide, which it will distribute to hospitals and birthing centers in annual quantities of 3.6 million. And the Davler Media Group has made a bet on parents’ books by acquiring the regional titles Big Apple Parent, Brooklyn Parent, Westchester Parent and Queens Parent.

For its part, Disney hopes Wondertime will grow into a multimedia brand. As the magazine gets off the ground, the Walt Disney Internet Group is developing Wondertime’s current mini-Web site into a true multimedia destination.

Parents, get ready to read.

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