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Disney to launch children's e-zine

"D-zine," a new version of Disney's "Da Buzz," is set to launch later this month on the company's subscription-based Daily Blast.

"Hey there, hi there, ho there," Slate and Salon! The Walt Disney Company is launching its own e-zine, dubbed D-zine, later this month.

The online magazine aims to be an "Entertainment Weekly for kids," as one insider puts it. D-zine is being offered as a feature in Disney's Daily Blast, the company's subscription-based online service aimed at children ages three to 12. D-zine is a new and improved version of "Da Buzz," which the company offered previously through Daily Blast.

"Coming soon! D-zine; Daily Blast's weekly zine. If it's hot and happenin' it's here," says a notice posted on the Daily Blast site. It lists subjects such as games, gossip, fashion, and adventure. A spokeswoman confirmed today the e-zine would launch later this month. An in-house staff will help provide content for D-zine, as well as the children who subscribe to Daily Blast.

Since it launched Daily Blast last year, Disney has been making additions and revisions to the service. Last November, for example, the service began offering D-mail, multimedia email with animated stickers and sound. The strategy is to make the online service more interactive and community-oriented. Disney says Daily Blast is exceeding its in-house projections, but it has not released any subscriber numbers for the service.

Like others, the media giant is seeking to tap the burgeoning online children's market. About 14 percent of U.S. children and teenagers log onto the Net, and the market is poised for further growth as more schools get wired and as parents buy more computers for their children's education, according to a recent study by Find/SVP.

Disney faces stiff competition, however, from the likes of Time Warner, America Online, Viacom, Yahoo, and Excite, which have launched sites or channels dedicated to children.