NEW YORK – Oct. 24, 2002 – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE “DIS”) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) have joined together to deliver Disney on MSN®, a co-branded Internet service that combines the new MSN 8 software with the magic of Disney content to provide families with a fun online experience. The new service was announced today by Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, at the launch of the MSN 8 service in Central Park.
The service provides dial-up Internet access and combines the robust parental controls and all the other features of the MSN 8 service with age-appropriate start pages for children that have entertaining Disney content, as well as a separate start page for adults with the MSN 8 home page. Disney on MSN subscribers also will receive a free subscription to Disney’s Blast, a premium online content service for kids that provides nearly 100 educational and entertainment features, and a free subscription to Disney Adventures magazine.
“One of Disney’s undisputed competitive advantages is its strong brand, and the ability to adapt beloved characters and stories to new technologies is a cornerstone of our strategy to grow and generate new guests with every generation,” Eisner said. “Disney’s presence on the Internet in family entertainment has been pre-eminent, and we are pleased to expand our Internet offerings to a new generation through our relationship with MSN, which represents a wonderful combination.”
“Disney on MSN combines the ultimate resource for family content with technology that families can trust,” Gates said. “This service gives parents the tools they need to help make the Internet safe and fun for their children – without sacrificing powerful browsing and communications capabilities.”
Disney on MSN is available beginning today through MSN Dial-Up Internet Access for $21.95 per month for the entire family. To subscribe, consumers can visit http://disneyonmsn.com/ or call (866) 347-6761.
The service’s Disney content and product marketing is managed by the Walt Disney Internet Group. At launch, Disney content for kids’ pages includes games, activities, direct access to Disney’s Blast and the award-winning SurfSwell Island: Adventures in Internet Safety. Disney on MSN will be marketed by Disney Online, The Disney Store, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and other affiliates.
The specific online safety features offered by MSN 8 that are incorporated into Disney on MSN include the following:
· Flexible filtering. Parents can select from age-specific settings that block inappropriate Web sites for kids in three age groups. They also can create customized settings to block or add specific Web sites, pages within Web sites or categories of sites, such as those for gambling or arts and entertainment.
· Communications controls. A child’s access can be allowed, blocked, or limited to sending and receiving messages to and from those who appear in a parent-approved contact list when using MSN Mail and MSN Messenger Service.
· Kids Request Line. Kids can request permission from their parents via e-mail to access Web pages, e-mail addresses or MSN Messenger accounts they don’t already have permission to use. Parents can approve or deny the requests or set up new restrictions.
· Download controls. Parents can prohibit Internet downloads.
· Kids Search. When searching the Web, kids receive age-appropriate selections drawn from more than 60,000 prescreened sites, more than double the number of prescreened sites offered by other ISPs today.
· Weekly history reports. A weekly e-mail message sent to parents details their kids’ recent online activity, including the total time spent online, Web sites they visited or tried to visit, e-mail addresses and MSN Messenger accounts of people with whom they corresponded and attempted to correspond, and files they downloaded.
In addition to these parental controls, MSN 8 offers enhanced protection for the family PC. Anti-virus protection services from McAfee.com, a leading provider of anti-virus software, included with MSN 8 scans and cleans viruses from e-mail attachments and automatically installs updated protections to help shield subscribers’ PCs from the latest viruses.
The online safety features are not all that distinguish MSN 8 from the competition. MSN 8 also offers new and upgraded communications tools, such as advanced junk-mail filtering and full-featured e-mail. People will have access to advanced browsing tools, such as a streamlined user interface and personalized dashboard. The dashboard is an onscreen spot where users can compile their favorite or most-used online resources, such as digital pictures or instant messaging contacts.
Members of the press who are unable to attend the MSN 8 launch can join a teleconference being held today about the Disney on MSN Internet service:
· Time: 2:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m. EDT
· Number to call in United States: (800) 640-9765
· Number to call internationally: (847) 413-4837
· Host: Colleen Lacter
· Title: MSN
MSN has 9 million subscriptions and attracts more than 300 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web atwww.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx
About Walt Disney Internet Group
Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) provides strategic leadership and operational management for The Walt Disney Company’s Internet properties including category leaders Disney.com, ESPN.com and ABCNEWS.com. WDIG has led the way in developing new forms of interactive content, such as its Enhanced TV service, which showcases the convergence of video and interactive programming, and is a market leader in developing and distributing entertainment and informational content to new platforms. Through relationships with some of the world’s largest wireless carriers, WDIG distributes content and services to wireless users under the Disney, ESPN and ABC brands. Steve Wadsworth is president of WDIG, which is headquartered in North Hollywood and has operations in Seattle, New York, Orlando, Fla., Tokyo and London.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
For more information, press only:
The Walt Disney Internet Group
mPRm Public Relations for Disney
Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft
Rapid Response Team
Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft
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