Tinker Bell Appears In 'Pixie Hollow' In
Act Of Marketing Magic
October 24, 2008
LOS ANGELES — Tinker Bell, the cute fairy who has long
played second fiddle to Peter Pan, makes her grand
entrance in The Walt Disney Co.'s virtual world of Pixie
Hollow on Friday.
In a sprightly act of marketing magic, she appears in
the online game just four days before the Oct. 28
straight-to-DVD release of the "Tinker Bell" animated
New toys called "Clickables" that link to the online
world are hitting store shelves for the holidays, and
some 7.5 million fairy avatars that children have
created will now be allowed to become privileged members
of the world for $5.95 a month.
The arrival kicks off a multimillion-dollar payday for
The Walt Disney Co. on a Tinker Bell franchise that is
already worth $1 billion this year and highlights the
company's "Disney Difference" approach to leveraging its
assets in books, movies, games and merchandise.
"This is probably our first real effort at this more
holistic approach to a franchise that includes a very
immersive online experience tied to consumer products,
physical goods," said Steve Wadsworth, president of
Disney Interactive Media Group. "This is the world where
all these things come together."
Tinker Bell's established fan base and online plans
convinced studio executives that the DVD could succeed
without a theatrical release, since theatres will be
crowded already with family films, including Disney's
own "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" on Friday,
"Bolt" Nov. 21, and DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar:
Escape 2 Africa" on Nov. 7.
The sale of 12 million copies of some 400 Fairies books
published worldwide since 2005 has more than readied
Tinker Bell fans to hear the Disney animated character's
voice for the first time. Unrelated to Disney, Julia
Roberts played the speaking sprite in the 1991 movie,
"We've always had Tinker Bell product in the
marketplace. She's always been a very popular character
for us," said Kathy Franklin, vice president of girls
franchise development for Disney Consumer Products.
The goal, Franklin said, is to grow revenue in the
franchise year over year. The model is its Disney
Princess business, a group that joins Sleeping Beauty
and Snow White with more recent heroines like Pocahontas
and Mulan, and reaps $4 billion a year.
Disney has been ramping up its online presence by
creating virtual worlds since the 2002 launch of
ToonTown, based on an area in Disneyland where players
play cartoons trying to save the town from greedy
business robots. It bought Kelowna, B.C.-based virtual
world Club Penguin for $350 million in August 2007 and
launched the Pirates of the Caribbean Online last
Executives say Disney's virtual worlds have become tidy
Among the 65 million avatars so far created in Disney's
four worlds, there were 9.2 unique visitors in
September, up 37 per cent from last year, according to
comScore Media Metrix.
Steve Parkis, the senior vice president of Disney Online
Studios, said makers of virtual worlds generally convert
5 to 20 per cent of visitors into paying customers with
monthly subscriptions - which enable users to buy better
gags or weapons, pursue more interesting quests or, in
Pixie Hollow, make and buy outfits.
"Ten to 12 per cent is where you want to be, 20 per cent
is very successful," Parkis said of the conversion rate.
"We would be in the more successful range across the
majority of our products."
Disney does not make its online revenue public. But,
with a 10 per cent conversion rate and monthly fees from
$5.95 to $9.95, Disney's online worlds rake in an
estimated $7 million a month, or $85 million a year - on
par with one low-budget hit movie.
"It's not a meaningful revenue generator for anyone
yet," said Michael Pachter, a video games analyst with
Wedbush Morgan Securities.
But it does keep children engaged with the Fairies
mythology when they help online fish swim upstream or
light virtual fireflies, just like in the movie.
"Clickables" bracelets and charms help real world
friends exchange phrases or gifts that later appear
While it's unlikely the fairies will ever run out of
work in Pixie Hollow, Disney plans to keep children
interested by releasing three more movies in the Fairies
franchise every year through 2011.
This article is copyrighted material, the use of
which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes. For more
information go to:
you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the
Website Designed & Maintained By:
AfterFive by Design, Inc.
CCFC Logo And Fact Sheets By:
Copyright 2004 Commercial Free
Childhood. All rights reserved