Disney Gets Into eBook Apps

Since the iPad launched back in April, Disney has been exploring how interactive eBook apps for kids. In April 2010, Disney launched an app for its Toy Story franchise aimed at bringing the film to life by taking advantage of this new tool. The Toy Story app includes the “Read to Me” feature in which the app reads the book aloud to a child, as well as interactive games, movie clips, and sing-along songs. Disney gave away the app for free, with the intention of introducing consumers to this new way of consuming digital content.

“We felt that we were creating a new interactive format, we wanted that format to be as widely distributed as possible so we gave the first Toy Story app away for free,” says Yves Saada, VP of Digital Media at Disney Publishing. “We wanted to show what this platform could do for a book. We created a format that was combining books, immersive navigation, videos, songs, puzzles, reading and games, while keeping the reading experience as the focal point of the product.”Since then Disney has released the app in French, Spanish, German and Italian and has expanded the series to include apps for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. The Toy Story 2 and 3 apps cost $3.99, and all of the apps have been doing well. Toy Story debuted in Apple’s Top 10 Apps for the iPad and remained there for more than six months. The entire Toy Story franchise saw more than 700,000 downloads between April and the end of November.

Disney’s other kids’ book apps have been doing well too. In May, the company released an app for The Princess and the Frog, also for $3.99, and in September they put out The Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Rose app for the iPad, another free app. In October Disney expanded its distribution model to include apps designed to work on both the iPhone and the iPad with a series of puzzle books for small children, which include the Winnie the Pooh Puzzle Book and Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book.