Now, Hindi movies on Disney

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | March 23, 2009
The kids' entertainment channel has undergone a positioning change and will now target tweens

Disney's KidSense research, an annual study on the changing kids' market, unveiled a section of young viewers that was hitherto untapped by children's channels. While most channels target the age bracket of 4-14 year-olds, Disney recently decided to focus its positioning towards the 8-12 year-olds, or the tweens.

The Disney portfolio has now been segmented, so as to appeal to a specific audience, while broadly keeping the 4-14 year-old audience in mind. The flagship channel, Disney is positioned for an audience the tweens audience -- the 8-12 year olds.

The second channel, Jetix is positioned for 6-12-year-old boys and is a complete action channel. Hungama, on the other hand, has a broader scope and appeals to the age group of 4-14 years. "Hungama is more about the spirit. It is positioned as a mad fun destination," says Antoine Villeneuve, senior vice-president and managing director, Walt Disney Television International (India).

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Disney brought in international best-selling series, Hannah Montana and High School Musical to India to sharpen its tween focus. To promote the Hannah Montana franchise, the channel launched a property called Hannah Montana's 3D Concert and distributed around 8 lakh 3-D glasses in metros.

This franchise is now a mini-website, an apparel range, a series and a music album, and is spread across television, web, on-ground and mobile. The theatrical release is scheduled for May. For the coming season, the channel will tour Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, where young viewers in the city will get an opportunity to get a pop-star makeover and cut their own album.

With the holiday time approaching, the channel has introduced new packaging, Oye Summer Summer Oye. Under this, a new local production will be launched in a month's time, along with new properties, such as Sonny with a Chance and Aaron Stone, and new seasons.

For the first time, movies will be aired on the channel, starting with Pirates of The Caribbean in Hindi. A host of Hindi movies, including Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and other movies featuring actor, Aamir Khan will be aired.

On Hungama, Dharamveer has just been introduced, which was a mythological action show earlier aired on NDTV Imagine. This will be followed by another live-action series, called Hatim. The objective is to add variety to the otherwise animation-driven channel.

"It's a first for any of the Disney channels. I think these live action offerings can appeal to broader audiences, which means the family can watch it together. It can be an alternative to the mainstream general entertainment channels," Villeneuve adds.

When asked if the new launches in the general entertainment space, especially ones which have programmes appealing to kids, has affected Disney channels, he denied any major impact. While acknowledging the competition, he says, "Since the Indian market is driven by single television sets, the kids don't really have a TV life. So yes, we are all competing for the same set of people. But we are not competing with the big entertainment channels."