Nisha Qureshi

Diversity mixed with a blend of global and local content: The recipe for Disney Kids Network's success in India

Devika Prabhu, Head of Infotainment and Kids at Disney & Star India talks about the network’s evolution and its commitment to inclusivity and diversity in storytelling

The Indian kids’ entertainment media is dominated by international players like Nickelodeon, Warner Bros and of course Disney. The ‘Disney Channel’ has been an integral part of the growing years of many kids in India who were excited about consuming popular American Disney originals like Lizzie McGuire, That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Hannah Montana.

However, the network finds itself catering to a much different demand today than it did around two decades ago. Devika Prabhu, head of infotainment and kids at Disney & Star India says that while in its nascent years, Disney Kids Network primarily catered to urban audiences, as its reach expanded, so did its commitment to inclusivity and diversity in storytelling. She says that today, the network boasts a diverse portfolio that appeals to a broad spectrum of viewers, reflecting the rich tapestry of Indian culture.

According to her, central to Disney Kids Network's success is its strategic blend of global IPs and locally produced content. From beloved classics like Phineas & Ferb to iconic Japanese anime such as Crayon Shin-chan and Doraemon as well as local Indian IPs like Bhayyaji Balwan.

The Disney Kid’s Network’s bouquet as of today, apart from the flagship Disney Channel includes Disney Junior, Disney International, Hungama TV and Super Hungama. Prabhu explains that each of these channels caters to a different cohort and segment.

According to BARC, Disney Kids Network has seen significant engagement across all channels, with the network seeing a 34% growth in 2023 over 2022. On the back of this growth, there was a significant growth in the genre as well – with viewership growing by 26% in the summer of 2023 over the previous summer.

Content consumption among kids

According to Kantar’s 2020 ICUBE Report, 38% of the school-going children category (15 years of age or below) have shown a promising growth in internet usage, with entertainment as one of the driving forces behind the adoption.

Parbhu says that in addition to traditional television, the Disney Kids Network also embraces digital platforms to reach its audience. One of their priorities is ensuring appropriate content including ads are available on platforms like YouTube.

“We are always mindful about creating a safe space for children to let their imagination and curiosity flow free. This is something that parents have also come to trust the Disney Kids Network to do.

When they see their child consuming any of our channels, they know that it has been intricately curated and designed for their suitable ages,” she adds.

Summer Vacation plans

The network is gearing up for a robust summer vacation lineup including a set of new IPs as well as new episodes of established IPs. The lineup includes a new local animation series titled ‘Chhota Start Up’ on Hungama, exploring the entrepreneurial spirit of three ingenious youngsters as they navigate business challenges with their quirky yet practical solutions. They will also have fresh episodes of Bhayyaji Balwan on Hungama and on Disney Channel, they will have a movie festival showcasing timeless classics like The Jungle Book, and The Lion King to contemporary favourites like Tangled, Moana, Frozen and more.

Furthermore, the network is gearing up for another big-ticket launch- ‘Pokemon Horizon: The Series’ on Disney’s Hungama very soon.

With this, the network expects a record viewership and advertising.

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