Joining the online parade of movie studios and TV networks, Disney Interactive announced the formation of a new Disney Online business unit this week.
The unit will immediately begin developing marketing and promotional Internet services with the goal of creating a commercial online service within a year or two.
Jake Winebaum, the 36-year-old president of Walt Disney Magazine Publishing, has been named president of the new group, reporting to Disney Interactive President Steve McBeth.
He said the commercial service will be patterned after a publishing business model, with revenues coming from subscriptions, advertising and home shopping services.
“I bring subscription expertise,” Winebaum said, noting the importance of that experience in the new venture.
Disney already has deals on existing commercial services such as AOL and Prodigy, including online versions of its magazines “Disney Adventures” (AOL), “Family PC” (AOL), and “Family Fun” (Prodigy). “Discover” magazine also has a presence on the Internet.
Winebaum said he could not discuss pricing plans for the commercial service but said he believed that consumers would be willing to spend $15-$30 per month for combined online service fees.
One of the first Disney divisions to be exploited on the Internet this fall will be Disney Records, Winebaum said, with other areas being developed one at a time until the full-blown Internet site is ready late this year or in the first quarter of 1996.