July 15, 2003 2:27 PM PDT

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Walt Disney Japan said Tuesday it will start offering exclusive Disney?branded games and entertainment through a Japanese broadband service.

The programming, set to launch on July 22, will reach 3.5 million people who subscribe to Flet's, a broadband service operated by both NTT East and NTT West in Japan.

The basic free programming will be offered exclusively to broadband subscribers, who will be able to use their PCs to play interactive games and watch entertainment based on classic and new Disney characters.

Disney said the programming will include animated shorts, music, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from Disney films. Consumers can also upgrade to premium content for a price that has not been released. Premium offerings will include Disney Wonderland, a learning service for children between the ages of 3 and 6.

Disney said there are plans for similar services in the U.S. In a statement announcing the venture, Mark Handler, managing director of International Walt Disney Internet Group, said the company decided to begin services in Japan first, because it "is one of the most advanced and rapidly growing broadband markets in the world."

He said the service will tie together the company's online and offline media offerings.

"It allows us to begin to realize the promise of broadband entertainment and will demonstrate the unique qualities of entertainment content developed specifically for broadband," he said.

 

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