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Tomorrow ESPN launches a new ESPN.com, a website that has been re-engineered to deliver a more personal, elegant and lively sports experience to fans with greater personalization and functional design across devices – anytime, anywhere.

15034707ISG_WES_3Device_HOMEPAGE[1]Already the world’s largest sports website as measured by reach and engagement, ESPN will, for the first time, publish its flagship digital property in “editions” – launching in the U.S. and U.K. simultaneously, with multiple versions to roll out over the next 12 to 18 months.

The new ESPN.com is responsively designed to adjust to the user’s device and platform and its creation incorporates feedback from sports fans during extensive research and testing. The design is the result of a mobile-first approach that allows ESPN.com to deliver a consistent experience for sports fans on computer, tablet or handset.

Built on a completely new technology infrastructure and engineered to deliver sports content at real-time speed, the new ESPN.com will enable ESPN content groups to continue to serve fans with sports scores, news, and powerful storytelling in innovative ways.

“Digital media is more important than ever to ESPN, and this new platform for our sites and content will let us to do more than ever before to serve fans globally, locally and personally,” said John Skipper, President, ESPN and co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks. “Through hard work, smart risk-taking and a consistent belief and embrace of the internet and other emerging platforms and technologies ESPN has established and maintained a lasting leadership in an industry that changes, seemingly, by the week.”

Added John Kosner, executive vice president of ESPN Digital and Print Media, who has led the ESPN.com since 2003, “Our digital, technology and design teams have created a new ESPN.com that is elegant, intuitive and fast. Our product and technology teams have built a global platform that allows our content creators to program locally in any market and make the most of all the ways in which fans consume sports. It is purposefully familiar to our native ESPN app and shares aesthetic elements with other ESPN TV and print experiences. And this is just the beginning – a first stage of an iterative approach that will allow us to continue to enhance ESPN.com over time.”

Notably, the new site debuts new levels of personalization and the “ESPN Now” section as central pillars to the user experience, alongside ESPN’s leading news, feature, analysis and commentary.

The ESPN Now section is powered by a dedicated editorial team, charged with capturing and curating a stream of up-to-the-minute sports moments and conversations as they’re happening. Content in ESPN Now includes short, snackable content including breaking news, must-see and in-game video, audio clips, social responses, insightful statistics from ESPN Stats & Info and more, all of which are easily shareable. First introduced in the ESPN App, ESPN Now provides a way to capture the immediacy of sports today, while maintaining the editorial standard required by ESPN.

The new site also introduces a powerful new personalization engine to the site, allowing each individual fan to always have direct access to the content that matters most in a dedicated way alongside the main news section and “Now.”

The simultaneous launch of and the new UK edition of the site (ESPN.co.uk), marks the first of multiple editions outside the U.S. It is a result of a global foundation of technology and product development that will power multiple sites with locally relevant and personalized content driven by ESPN teams around the world. This approach of building globally and programming locally allows ESPN to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere with a consistent, personal experience on a worldwide scale.

ESPN: 20 Years on the Web

The re-launch of ESPN.com marks the 20th anniversary of ESPN’s debut on the web at www.ESPNSportsZone.com, through a collaboration with Starwave, on April 1, 1995. Since then, the growth of the site has been astounding.

In 1998, ESPN.com saw 1.2 million visits per day, making it the most-visited sports website in the U.S.  In 2014, ESPN.com saw 24.7 million visits in the average day, and more than 9 billion across the entire year. On a recent day this year – March 10, 2015, the first day of NFL free agency – ESPN.com had 2.3 million visits in one hour (4:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET).

In January 2015, ESPN digital properties – which include content across web, apps and video – had 126.5 million monthly unique visitors worldwide, the most ever in the global sports category. Between June 2014 and January 2015, ESPN digital content reached more than 100 million global unique visitors each month, making it the No. 1 digital sports property in the world.

ESPN.com 20th Anniversary Content

Celebrating its first 20 years online, ESPN.com began this week a series of articles, Top 20 rankings and visual galleries that tell the story of the site’s origins and how it has evolved over the last two decades, as well as a look ahead to the next 20 years.

20th anniversary content on the site includes a gallery of screenshots looking back at ESPN.com’s design through the years, an info graphic that explores the data behind the site, and an essay by Steve Wulf, a former editor at ESPN The Magazine and one of the first contributors to ESPN.com, who provides a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of ESPN.com.

Top 20 lists from the ESPN.com staff include rankings of the top athletes, news stories, moments in sports, teams and more over the last 20 years. Looking ahead, FiveThirtyEight.com will examine the odds of various sports records being broken in the next 20 years.

ESPN Audio will also produce a special edition podcast exploring the site’s history and the broader theme of the impact of the Internet on sports over the past 20 years.

Advertising

The new ESPN.com will allow ESPN to continue to push digital advertising industry forward and provide greater scope for flexibility and innovation. It will be a showcase for advertisers and marketers with impactful new ad units, prominent video placements and the ability to deliver seamless solutions for advertisers across devices while leveraging the strengths of sports and ESPN – the live experience, video, mobile, social and scale.

Chevrolet is an advertising sponsor for the launch of the US site.  ESPN is working with a range of other advertisers who will be unveiling new creative on the site in the coming days and weeks.

Advertising on the site was designed to deliver high-impact units and effective solutions for advertisers based on a new Universal Advertising Package (UAP), which offers the best advertising experience for each device, screen and orientation. The approach streamlines creative delivery and ad serving on the new ESPN, and ensures the best representation for brands, no matter the device. The move is designed to enable advertisers to take advantage of the increased effectiveness of multiplatform campaigns compared to single-platform.

When advertisers provide a full slate of UAP assets, Ads will be synched on the page – only one advertiser will feature on a page at any one time – meaning brands will no longer compete for attention against other advertisers. Advertising will also be integrated into the site to make them as viewable as possible, rather than sitting outside the navigation and editorial content.

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ABC Family has picked up its first scripted saga-to-series, “Shadowhunters,” from The Mortal Instruments franchise, announced today by Tom Ascheim, President, ABC Family and Karey Burke, Executive Vice President, Programming and Development, ABC Family. The series will go into production this May in Toronto.

Based on the bestselling young adult fantasy book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, “Shadowhunters” follows 18-year-old Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters – human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. When her mother Jocelyn is kidnapped, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with mysterious Shadowhunter Jace and her best friend, Simon. Now living among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold.

“’Shadowhunters’ is a big epic saga that will resonate with viewers who come to ABC Family for the ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Hunger Games,’ and ‘Twilight’ franchises,” said Ascheim. “A New York Times bestseller for 122-consecutive weeks, with over 35 million copies in print worldwide, ‘Shadowhunters’ is the perfect story to share with our audience.”

Burke continued, “Clary is a strong, dynamic and captivating character that our audience will immediately identify with. They will want her to succeed and will root for her on her journey to become who she was always meant to be. The series has a passionate fan base and an expansive universe that can sustain multiple seasons to come.”

“I’m excited to see ABC Family bring the world of the Shadowhunters to life. As a huge fan of long-form television drama, I can’t wait to see the story unfold and for the fans to have more time with the world and the characters,” added book author, Cassandra Clare.

“Shadowhunters” is produced by Constantin Film, and Ed Decter serves as executive producer and showrunner.

Cast to be announced at a later date.

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Reports indicate that Disney has purchase a script for a live-action Mulan adaptation written by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek. In 1998, Disney produced an animated version of the Chinese legend.

This is one of many adaptations of Disney’s animated catalog in the works including Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, Tim Burton’s Dumbo, and Bill Condon’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

The animated Mulan grossed over $300 million worldwide and was produced at Disney’s now defunct animation studios in Florida.

No casting, production information, or release date has been announced for this project.

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This past weekend, the four actors who play the Johnson family children on ABC’s comedy “black-ish”, kicked off their summer break together at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida following the wrap of the show’s first season. “black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as the parents of four children played by Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson, Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, and Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson.

The show, which has new episodes airing through May, has become the season’s No. 1 new comedy in adults 18-49 and swept the 2015 NAACP Image Awards’ television comedy categories, including Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Shahidi.  To celebrate the show’s success, Shahidi, Scribner, Brown and Martin took their break time together along with their actual parents to get an early start on Walt Disney World’s Coolest Summer Evercelebration.  

Some of their vacation highlights included:

  • Receiving a personal welcome from Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
  • Riding the playful Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
  • Experiencing a fan moment when Martin got to meet her favorite Disney character, Princess Tiana from Disney’s Princess and the Frog
  • Previewing the live Frozen Summer Fun experience with princesses Anna and Elsa at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Training in Jedi skills and testing them against stormtroopers in honor of Scribner’s Star Wars-obsessed character on the show
  • Learning about 400 years of African-American achievement at “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” an exhibit at Epcot which features rare art, documents, books and artifacts amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey.
  • Experiencing a star moment when they had their picture taken by Goofy in front of the “black-ish” billboard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

“black-ish” airs Wednesdays at 9:30|8:30c on ABC with new episodes airing through May and the season repeated throughout the summer.

 

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Multi-talented actor and singer-songwriter Nick Jonas returns to his roots with a scheduled performance at the 2015 Radio Disney Music Awards (RDMA), music’s biggest event for families, taking place SATURDAY, APRIL 25 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. The Island/Republic Records recording artist has been charting for 33 weeks running on Radio Disney’s Top 30 chart with the singles “Jealous” and “Chains” from his self-titled debut album. “Jealous,” which went double-platinum, has over 50 million views on YouTube, and his newest single, “Chains,” currently has over 15 million views on YouTube.

“Radio Disney has supported Nick along the incredible journey of his musical career. We are delighted to showcase his latest evolution as a solo artist on the Radio Disney Music Awards stage,” said Phil Guerini, Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Radio Disney.

Jonas is a multiple nominee for the 2015 RDMAs, with nominations in the categories “He’s The One – Best Male Artist” and “XOXO – Best Crush Song,” and was featured in television special “Disney Channel Presents the 2015 RDMA Nomination Special.” His second studio album, “Nick Jonas,” was released November 10, 2014 and has spawned the two hit singles, “Jealous” and “Chains.” Jonas currently stars in the DirecTV Audience Network drama “Kingdom.”

The 2015 Radio Disney Music Awards, music’s biggest event for families, is set for SATURDAY, APRIL 25 at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. The show will feature performances by some of the biggest artists in music and the presentation of the uniquely Radio Disney “ARDY” statuette winners, as voted on by fans globally. Walt Disney Records will release a compilation album of 15 tracks featuring nominees and nominated songs on Tuesday, April 21. A 90-minute televised special “Disney Channel Presents the Radio Disney Music Awards” and 30-minute pre-show, including red-carpet arrivals, will be presented SUNDAY, APRIL 26 on Disney Channel. Highlights will also be available on Radio Disney, the Radio Disney App, the WATCH Disney Channel app and RadioDisney.com.

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Local community groups took center stage at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts today as Walt Disney World Resort awarded more than $4.5 million in Disney Grants, which will enable the organizations to play an even stronger supporting role for more than 250,000 Central Florida children and their families.

Through the support provided by Disney’s signature giving program, the grants will help local organizations build children’s character, encourage creativity and promote economic development throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties. This year’s grant recipients offer an array of programs, including learning and reading camps, arts enrichment and furniture and clothes for families in need.

“Today’s Disney Grant recipients work tirelessly to build a better future for Central Florida and share Disney’s values of investing in children and families,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “For more than 43 years, we’ve joined with other local organizations to strengthen our community because we believe we’re better together.”

As a part of this year’s recognition ceremony, Disney announced two special gifts — a $250,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties to build a permanent facility in that community, and a $100,000 gift to the Boys and Girls Club Walt Disney World Clubhouse in Pine Hills to expand its kitchen that provides meals to more than 100 kids each day.

Walt Disney World Resort also presented the Bob Allen Award to the Community Hope Center of Osceola County, a nonprofit that serves homeless families. Awarded annually in recognition of a charitable organization’s creativity and outstanding work in Central Florida, the grant will be used to help the Community Hope Center continue providing case management, life skills training and living essentials.

The Disney Grants awarded today represent contributions to organizations that receive grants, sponsorships and other donations. As a company with 74,000 Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is committed to investing in its community. In 2014, Walt Disney World Resort donated more than $37.9 million in cash and in-kind support to local organizations, as well as more than 235,000 volunteer hours through the efforts of Disney VoluntEAR

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Thru the Mighty Microscope you will travel beyond the limits of normal magnification to explore the thrilling world of the atom in this cotton tee inspired by Walt Disney’s classic Tomorrowland attraction available from Disney Store.

The shirt has limited availability from Monday March 30, 2015 to Sunday April 5, 2015 only.

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Adults - Disneyland - Limited Availability

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Adults – Disneyland – Limited Availability

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Women - Disneyland - Limited Availability

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Women – Disneyland – Limited Availability

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Kids - Disneyland - Limited Availability

Adventure Thru Inner Space Tee for Kids – Disneyland – Limited Availability

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Hearts will soar while wearing this cool cotton tee dedicated to If You Had Wings, the classic Tomorrowland attraction experienced at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom from 1972 to 1987 available from Disney Store.

The shirt has limited availability from Monday March 30, 2015 to Sunday April 5, 2015 only.

If You Had Wings Tee for Adults - Walt Disney World - Limited Availability

If You Had Wings Tee for Adults – Walt Disney World – Limited Availability

If You Had Wings Tee for Women - Walt Disney World - Limited Availability

If You Had Wings Tee for Women – Walt Disney World – Limited Availability

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Two generations of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes rise to the challenge and come face-to-face with the Avengers greatest villain in AVENGERS: RAGE OF ULTRON, the can’t miss original graphic novel coming to comic shops and book stores this week! New York Times bestselling writer Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers, Uncanny X-Force) re-teams with critically acclaimed artists Jerome Opeña (Avengers, Uncanny X-Force) and Pepe Larraz (Kanan: The Last Padawan) to take heroes old and new to the brink of destruction in a story that will redefine Ultron and have long reaching effects for the Avengers!

Available this Wednesday, Avengers: Rage of Ultron debuts in a high-end, oversized format and marks another entry in Marvel’s stunning OGN line, featuring the world’s most popular characters brought to life by the best creators in the industry.

Time and again, Ultron has reformed himself. Each time more vicious and destructive than the last. Today, he has returned, unleashing his destructive fury upon Saturn’s moon Titan – home of the superpowered race of Eternals and birthplace of Thanos the Mad. With the Eternals decimated, and Ultron gaining complete control over Titan’s central computer core, there is nothing to stop Planet Ultron! What hope do the Avengers stand against an entire planet of Ultron robots?

Only Ultron’s creator Hank Pym holds the secret to defeating his unhinged creation. A secret that dates back to the Avengers of a bygone era. A secret that comes with a terrible price…