Why Disney Bought Togetherville

The Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) has acquired kids-oriented social network Togetherville, which TechCrunch first reported and confirmed. The purchase falls right in line with two of the priorities Disney set forward at its investors conference last week: dominate the market for websites targeting mothers and their children and maintain high visibility across social media.

Togetherville has been described as “training wheels for social networks,” employing a user interface simple for youngsters not quite ripe for Facebook to interact in a safe environment. The site just launched last year.

It’s unknown whether the acquisition was set in motion before the shakeup at Disney’s internet division, Disney Interactive Media Group, that saw new leadership come in late last year. But James Pitaro, co-president of DIMG and overseer of its online, mobile and social initiatives, recently noted he was looking to make changes at what’s been called the Disney Mom and Family portfolio of sites, which include FamilyFun.com, Kaboose.com and BabyZone.com.

Putting Togetherville.com in the mix could go a long way toward meeting what Pitaro described as huge demand from advertisers to target users across that range of sites. It will probably also work well in tandem with another Disney acquisition, Digisync, which has been a creative force in making Disney a strong player on Facebook. The firm has been credited with hatching 200 branded pages across Facebook that have netted the company 125 million fans.

It’s a safe bet that Togetherville will likely fall under the oversight of Brooke Chaffin, who was just brought in as senior vice president of women and family by Pitaro, who used to work with her at Yahoo’s media group.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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