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Upfronts / Newfronts

Disney Interactive NewFront: New Shows, Vevo Pact and 'Story' App for Your Photos

Adding Web Series for Kids, Teens and Moms

By Published on . 2

Disney Interactive turned up the volume on its NewFront presentation to ad buyers this year, moving to a bigger venue and closing with a performance from the band Plain White Ts.

Disney Interactive Co-President James Pitaro at the company's NewFront event
Disney Interactive Co-President James Pitaro at the company's NewFront event

Last year, the division of Walt Disney had recently acquired the Babble.com mommy blog and struck a deal to collaborate on family-friendly Disney.com and YouTube videos. At this year's event on Thursday morning, it announced two new initiatives: a partnership with Vevo for a family-friendly music entertainment experience and a new app called Story, which turns video, photos and music captured on smartphones into shareable "stories."

The NewFronts are digital publishers' attempt to win more ad dollars -- ideally from fat TV budgets -- by imitating the TV industry's annual upfront pitches and negotiations.

Disney Interactive co-president James Pitaro talked up its YouTube success so far, saying the company had accumulated more than 2 billion views on its YouTube channel as a result of the $10 million to $15 million it committed in November 2011 to make original shorts for the platform. "When we think of online video we think of YouTube," Mr. Pitaro said.

"Talking Friends" accumulated 130 million views, he said, and "Swampy's Underground Adventures" has accumulated 27 million. Now Disney Interactive will bring Swampy back for a second season.

The company also said it is introducing new series aimed variously at kids, tweens and teens, and parents. For kids, there's "Digitales," a finger-puppet theater series where kids retell classic Disney stories from memory; "It's a Small World," an animated series based on the iconic ride; and "Blank: A Love Story," based on Disney vinyl collectible toys.

Disney Interactive said it will continue to use talent from Babble in its digital series. New originals for parents include another food/cooking series, "That's Fresh with Helen Cavallo"; "Making it Up," a talk-show hosted by Kerri Kenney-Silver, who discusses parenting with celebrities and gives crafting, banking and lifestyle tutorials; "Celebrity Pet Psychic," featuring Sonya Fitzpatrick, who communicates with celebrity pets; and "Citizen Kid," which profiles children who are giving back to their communities.

Its content for teens raises the most questions, as Disney Interactive attempts to reach an audience YouTube claims it already dominates -- without Disney's help.

Disney Interactive's partnership with Vevo, which is hosting its own NewFront event later Thursday. will include the new series "Unfiltered with Cole Plante," following the 16-year-old deejay as he prepares for Lallapalooza.

Other efforts meant to reach teens include "Stunt'D," which follows an indie movie film crew as they shoot stunt scenes and "D'fied," a weekly show highlighting Disney-inspired fashion and style.

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