The world’s largest media brand, Walt Disney Television International, expects India to become one among its top three markets in a year’s time with a viewership of 20 million.
The company is also seriously looking at original production in India after its recent success with the short story series ‘Legend of the Ringfire’, produced in Asia.
On the sidelines of the launch of Toon Disney, a kids channel in Tamil, Rajat Jain, managing director, Walt Disney Television International (India) said, “This the first time in the world that Walt Disney Television International is launching its Toon Disney channel in a local language. This shows that it wants to meet the gap in the Indian kids channel.”
Jain said that the reason for localising kids channels in Tamil and Telegu was that the average television viewership in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh was double the national average viewership. Incidentally, Toon Disney will be the first Tamil and Telegu kids channel to be launched.
The other factors that determine content localisation are the size of the regional market, viability of business, the extent of viewership and the need to meet the gap in the market, he added.
Television viewing data reveals that less than four per cent of kinds in the age group between four and 14 in Tamil Nadu view children’s television and spend as much time on non kids genre programming.
Another subsidiary company of Walt Disney Television, Disney Characters Voices, has the mandate to convert English in to local languages. Jain said that over 1,800 hours of fully dubbed content in Tamil for the next one year has been done by the company.
“We source the talent from various dubbing vendors in the specific regions without compromising on quality,” he added.
The new Tamil kids channel is targeted primarily at kids aged between four and fourteen will feature Disney classics, movie series and contemporary cartoon, among others.
Meanwhile, Star Network the authorised distributor of Walt Disney Television India, is in talks with multi-system operator-Sun Cable Vision for a free preview period of Toon Disney in Chennai.
Jain said that the free preview period will enable large population of Chennaities to view the new channel otherwise who will not have the opportunity to watch them without set top box. In a week’s time we expect the negotiations to get firmed up and the free preview period to be operational, he added.
Chennai is the only city in India which has CAS. Toon Disney, the newly launched Tamil kids channel is a pay channel cannot be viewed unless aided by a set top box.