Disney invites stars onto CES stage

Bob Iger unveils new Disney.com, addresses challenges the company and industry face, particularly when it comes to piracy. Photos: Disney chief flaunts it

LAS VEGAS--During a celebrity-filled keynote here Monday, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger previewed the company's new Web site and outlined the many ways technology is reshaping the entertainment giant.

Iger showed off the new Disney.com, touting features such as improved customization and navigation as well as a built-in video player that will be featured on many of the company's sites.

The revamped Disney.com also has a feature that guesses what visitors might be interested in based on age and gender. Another feature, Xtreme Digital, is aimed at taking advantage of the way kids multitask--surfing the Web, watching a video, playing a game and chatting with a friend all at the same time.

In addition to talking about the ways in which Disney is making its content available online, Iger addressed the challenges the company and the industry face, particularly when it comes to piracy.

"Getting the balance right between convenience and pricing is a challenge facing all of us," Iger said in an afternoon speech at the Consumer Electronics Show here. "The best way to combat piracy is to bring content to market on a well-timed, well-priced basis."

Iger's speech at CES highlights the importance of content providers to the consumer electronics industry. CBS' Les Moonves is slated to speak Tuesday.

As part of his keynote, Iger showed a humorous video purporting to be the Lost season finale, with one of the characters saying that when she leaves the island, she's going to Vegas for CES.

Lost co-stars Evangeline Lilly and Matthew Fox then came onstage. Lost is one of ABC's most mobile shows, available worldwide on cell phones.

"I was right, they are dead sexy," Lilly said, echoing something she said in the parody video and likely jesting the CES attendees.

Fox talked about the role technology is playing in allowing fans to come together and talk about the show and ultimately, the influence that fans exert over the shows they are watching. "They have a lot more control over the show than we do as actors," he said. "We're at the mercy of the fans. Our producers are constantly going online."

Iger also brought out producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who gave a sneak peek at the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie and confirmed that musician Keith Richards is going to be in the new film.

"Does he play the guitar?" Iger asked. Replied Bruckheimer, "You'll have to see the movie to see that."

Disney touted Pirates of the Caribbean Online, a free multiplayer online game due out this spring.

Iger also showed a scene from Pixar's forthcoming animated movie Ratatouille.

"Quick shameless plug," Iger said, pointing out that the film will hit theaters on June 29.

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    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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