Prachi Srivastava

Disney Channel strengthens original production portfolio

The channel has launched the second season of DisneyQ. It is also gearing up to launch two new shows.

In an attempt to strengthen its live action programming portfolio and original production content, Disney Channel India has launched the second season of the quiz reality show, 'DisneyQ-The Family Mastermind'. Additionally, the channel is gearing up to launch a new show called 'Oye Jassie!' in September.

The channel had first aired Viki and Vetal in the local production space in 2006. It then went on to make shows like 'Best of Luck Nikki' which is currently in its third season. Over the last two years, Disney Channel India has also launched live action shows like 'The Suite Life of Karan and Kabir' which recently concluded its second season and might see the launch of a third season in the coming four months. The channel is also airing Season 1 of 'Shake It Up', which is aired every Sunday at 11 am.

Disney Channel strengthens original production portfolio
Disney Channel strengthens original production portfolio
Devika Prabhu, director, programming, kids' network, Disney-UTV, says, "We have always been committed to live action and want to involve families on our channel and particularly on Disney Channel. While its kids' centric, it's very family inclusive entertainment and that's what the channel stands for."

"Live-action is something we introduced and we are committed to that. What we have been focusing on since the past few years, probably since 2011, is that we have been having more family inclusive track in our story telling. In our show Best of Luck Nikki, we had a very strong parallel track that had moved parent's interaction with the children and also children's interaction with each other," Prabhu adds.

In 2011, the channel had almost 6 per cent of scheduled live action, which has grown to 17-18 per cent today and the channel continues to grow locally produced content. It had also launched an interactive game show called 'Mai Ka Laal' in 2011. The aim is to explore opportunities to make kids and their parents interact through all genres of content.

Another important factor for launching locally produced shows is that viewers get an opportunity to interact with their favourite on-screen characters. The channel is able to make various touch points with its audiences since the format is produced is India itself. It may be recalled that in an initiative, Disney Channel had run a contest called 'Jet Set Go' wherein the winners of the contest got an opportunity to fly to Disneyland with their families and the characters of the shows on Disney Channel.

"It's about creating memories, creating entertainment experiences that help create memories," says Indrajit Ray, executive director, content, Disney-UTV.

About the content of the channel, Ray adds, "We want the stories of our shows to be just for use, very relevant and hugely relatable to the people who are watching it and we stand for entertainment for family. For instance, for shows like DisneyQ, it's the families coming together, getting into an activity and also watching it together as a family."

While live action shows are lined up, the channel is also launching the animation series, 'Sofia The First', which will premiere in India on August 24 and will be aired every Saturday at 10 am. The series is about Sofia, a young girl who becomes a princess when her mother marries the King of Enchancia.

Explaining Disney's focus on live action instead of animation in local production, Ray says, "Live action is something we are looking at to cater to the larger family audience. Also, it's about finding the right stories and the expressions those stories lend themselves to. So, stories we are working right now on lend themselves to live action treatment, locally produced ones. Having said that there will be many stories that will lend themselves to animation treatment but we still haven't got into that."

In order to market DisneyQ, the channel launched a mobile app, Disney Q Challenge, which can be downloaded during the show. Packed with 1000 interesting questions across 10 different subjects, this app captures the show concept of providing families an opportunity to enjoy quizzes on the most easily available device. The app is available across Android, iOS and BlackBerry platforms. The show is aired Monday to Thursday at 8.30 pm.

For the record, in terms of audience composition of Disney Channel, 35 per cent are adults and the rest are kids (source: TAM data provided by the channel; C&S, ABC 4+, HSM).

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