Disney now catering to its little princes, too

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I love watching Disney do its youth marketing thang because it does it so darn well. Seeing that its audience was starting to skew towards girls (that whole Disney Princess thing might have had something to do with it), Disney has launched its new Disney XD cable channel, and accompanying Web site, DisneyXD.com, targeted at boys age 6-14. The Web component is pretty standard in presentation: build your own avatar, play games, win points. But Disney is weaving the online and offline content together with tie-ins such as TV-branded virtual items and 60-second segments on the TV channel spotlighting high-scoring players from the Web site. That's exciting because too many brands consider their Web site to be a sort of termination point for consumer communication. Disney is trying to "create an experience" where the TV and online content merge seamlessly. NPR has the scoop on XD's programming lineup (including Aaron Stone, pictured above, whose plot is a happier rip-off of Ender's Game). According to Disney's marketing gurus, today's 6- to 14-year-old male has more emotional sensitivity than he's given credit for. And that's why the XD brand will focus on sports and video games.

—Posted by Rebecca Cullers