BURBANK, California: The Walt Disney Company is focussing its sights more rigorously than ever on its prime market of young families and children. To this end it has merged its ad-sales, marketing and promotional units into a single entity with the aim of maximizing advertising income.

As of now, there is a singe ad salesforce, helmed by Tricia Wilber, who will oversee Disney's two child-targeting cable networks, plus kids' programming on the ABC TV network, Disney.com, Radio Disney and Disney Adventures magazine.

The Mouse House intends the move to achieve two objectives: to accommodate the growing number of advertisers wanting to strike cross-media deals; and to attract new advertisers (auto manufacturers, for example) with the eyeball-combo of kids and their parents.

Annual TV adspend aimed at toddlers through young teenagers currently averages around $850 million (€657.23m; £433.67m), but in recent years growth has been static and analysts expect this year to be no exception

And although the TV market is becalmed, children's marketers are pumping dollars into new media outlets, particularly videogames and the internet.

Such outlets "are not only taking dollars from the traditional kids' marketplace, but they are also taking viewers," believes Lake End Consulting president Lee Ravdin: "We are obviously interested in all the media, and that comes more and more into [negotiating] play."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff