Disney buys Togetherville, a Facebook for kids

(image) New Delhi: Togetherville, a Facebook-like social networking site for 6-10 year olds developed by Indian-origin entrepreneur Mandeep Singh Dhillon, has been acquired by Walt Disney Company for an undisclosed sum.

Under the merger agreement, California-based Togetherville willbe a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company reportinginto Disney Interactive Media Group.

Disney did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which wascompleted last week.

Togetherville CEO and founder Dhillon launched the family-orientedversion of Facebook last year as a “safe” social online communitywhere children could learn, play and mingle with friends under thewatchful eyes of their parents.

“Excited” by the acquisition, Dhillon said Disney is “one of themost amazing family brands on Earth.”

Dhillon’s profile on professional network site LinkedIn says heis Vice President, Togetherville at The Walt Disney Company.

The Togetherville deal is the latest digital acquisition by Disney,which is looking at investing more in social and mobile companiesand less in creating console-based video games.

In July, Disney acquired social gaming company Playdom for USD 563million. Last year it also bought mobile music game company Tapulous.

Disney’s Interactive Media Group recently outlined plans to investmore on emerging technological platforms and less on developing gamesfor mature markets like the video game console business.

Himself a father of three young children, Dhillon said the freesite allows children to connect with their real-world friends ina virtual neighbourhood.

The service requires adults to log in with an existing Facebookaccount, and lets them build their kid’s network from their own networks.

Profile pages of the children are closed to outsiders, unless theyare approved by the parents.

Since Togetherville neig­hbourhoods are built from a parent’s ownsocial network, there is no way anyone anonymous or unknown can everinteract with the child, the company said.

“Togetherville is very focused on trying to really reflect whatthe adult community has been doing on the Web and build a real online experience that adults enjoy, for kids but in a safe way”, said Dhillon.