Walt Disney TV International has decided it’s time it should speak on its venture in the Indian market. All set to compete for kids’ and families’ attention from December 17, 2004, the organisation shares why the Disney brand would work in India, the importance of the Indian market and much more on its operations.
Addressing a media gathering, Rajat Jain, MD, WDTVI, shares that this is the first time that Disney is entering a market with a dual launch (Disney Channel and Toon Disney Channel) and that this is the first time in India itself two channels from the same parent are launching together. Also from day one, TDC will be available in Tamil and Telugu apart from the Hindi and English feeds. “This indicates how important the Indian market is for Disney and also reflects our degree of localisation,” says Jain.
Exploring more in the untapped potential of the kids’ genre, Jain also shared on the programming of both the channels and discussed how one differs from the other. The flagship Disney Channel would be a blend of animated and live action programming, including movies, original local content and series. Available in English and Hindi, the channel would have original content from 8.00 am to 9.00 pm, where an hourly family centric programming is placed, followed by repeat programming. The channel has partnered with production houses like Miditech for the local programmes.
Disney intends to grow this channel in the Hindi speaking areas and hence the dual language feed. The channel shares that DC distinction comes from movies and the preschool initiative - Playhouse Disney. Where the channel intends to show 60 movies a month, a matinee and primetime everyday (over 130 movies are already dubbed), the morning hours air Playhouse Disney.
Similar initiatives are already seen on other channels like POGO and Cartoon Network. Replying to why does the channel, still feel that Playhouse would be successful, Jain says, “It is the whole Disney experience – the way we present, package and entertain the kid even as he is taught something is unique in itself.”
Internationally, Playhouse Disney starts as a band changing into a channel. However, Jain refrained from giving any indication of the same happening in the Indian market, “Between these channels, there is everything that an Indian child would want. Propositions do change over time and we still have to see how anything materialises on this front.”
Evidently, where Disney is like POGO and Hungama TV, TDC would be 100 per cent animation content like Cartoon Network, except for the ‘Jetix’ block, which houses ‘Power Rangers’. Disney’s intention here is to tap more on the southern market more and hence the Tamil and Telugu feed.
Aiming at the 4-14 year-old or as Hema Govindan, Vice President, Marketing and Programming puts it, ‘Toon-agers’, TDC would cater to underserved Indian kids completely.
Speaking on content exclusive to respective channels, Govindan says, “There would be very little blurring of lines as far as characters are concerned. Perhaps only to the extent of cross promotion, will we see same characters on both channels.” Blocks like Jetix would be exclusive to TDC, as movies and Playhouse would be to DC.
On the marketing front, she expresses that consumer marketing would be seen in the metros and tactical advertising would be in 12 markets. However, even as the channels would utilise outdoor media, presence on STAR channels and school contacts to create awareness and promote the channels presently, the focus for the first three months would be on distribution.
When quested that how does Disney propose to differ itself in an increasingly cluttering kids’ segment, where in terms of both content and communication, the kids suddenly have a lot to choose from, both officials reply that it is the Disney brand’s equity and proposition that will work in the Indian market. How right are they? We will soon find out.