What would you think of Mickey Mouse reading 'Rapid Hindi
Speaking Course'? Well, that's just what Toon Disney, the channel from the Walt Disney bouquet, is trying to discover. Come September 1, the channel will launch its Hindi feed.
As of now, 1,800 episodes of around 60 shows, showcasing 2,000 animated titles, have been dubbed in Hindi .
Till date, Toon Disney was available only in English, Telugu and Tamil.
Rajat Jain, managing director, Walt Disney Television International (India), says, "The main focus is to make Disney a local brand in India."
When asked why Disney didn't start a Hindi feed at the time of the channel's launch in December 2004, Jain says, "We were aware that we needed a Hindi feed to build a huge viewership base in India, but there were constraints. For instance, dubbing the shows and getting quality voiceovers was a very extensive process, and we didn't want to compromise on our quality by hurrying it up."
Jain adds, "In India, less than 17 per cent of the Hindi-speaking market tunes in to kiddie channels. So, there is still a huge market waiting to be tapped. In addition, the Indian audience has not yet been exposed to the entire treasury of classical animation that Disney possesses. We aim to popularise classical animation in this country. "
The animation channel has segregated its entire programming in three day-parts. The first is the breakfast block, which will include shows like 'Mickey Mouse and Friends', 'Goof Troop', 'Chip n' Dale' and 'Duck Tales', aimed at young kids.
Later in the day, the channel has lined up shows such as 'Dave the Barbarian', 'Mighty Ducks', 'Team Supremo' and 'Buzz Lightyear' for slightly older children.
And in the evening, from 4pm to midnight, the channel has programmes such as 'JETIX', 'Spider-Man', 'The Incredible Hulk' and 'Fantastic Four', all aimed at family viewing.
Jain says, "Generally, there is no specific time for kids to watch television, it depends largely on the parents. So, we plan to have quality programmes round the clock so that they can enjoy them at any point of the day."
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