Disney Gets New Cross-Promo Vehicle

In a deal that will give The Walt Disney Co. yet another vehicle for
cross-promotion, the company announced Tuesday that it bought a 50 percent stake
in entertainment magazine US Weekly.

Disney will run the magazine through a joint venture it formed with US
owner Wenner Media, which also publishes Rolling Stone and
Men's Journal.

In a move that some critics may view as blurring the line between journalism
and cross-promotion, Disney said its ABC-owned-and-operated stations will run
stories on entertainment news that will be branded by US Weekly.

Disney spokeswoman Christine Castro said news directors won't be forced to
run the segments. 'Decisions will be made by the venture and the entity they're
working with,' she explained.

In other cross-promotion moves, ABC Entertainment will run 'an annual US
-branded entertainment-awards special capitalizing on the premier
content of the magazine,' according to the announcement.

ABC's Good Morning America will run interviews with US Weekly
correspondents, and ABC daytime program The View will run US
-branded segments.

Disney's SoapNet cable channel will run US Weekly-branded
interstetials, and ABC Radio networks will air daily US Weekly-branded
entertainment features targeting young adults.

The company's Walt Disney Internet Group is also looking
at ways to utilize content from the magazine on its Web sites, which include ABC.com, ABCNews.com and ESPN.com

, Disney said.

The announcement came the day after Disney announced that it was laying off
135 staffers from the Internet group.