Disney consolidates digital biz in India

MUMBAI: After taking full ownership of UTV Software Communications, The Walt Disney Company is consolidating its digital assets in India under a new arm, DisneyUTV Digital, to drive growth in games, video and audio services for mobile, online and interactive TV.

The new division will combine the businesses and talent from Disney, UTV and Indiagames. All content and brands from Disney, Marvel and UTV Bindass, as well as original content and games, will now be developed and managed by DisneyUTV Digital.

Incidentally, UK-based Ignition, a video game publisher, is not part of the new division. The possible reason for this is that Ignition, which has operations in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo, doesn‘t have operations in India. Its portfolio includes titles such as El Shaddai, Mercury, Deadly Premonition, and Faxion Online among others.

UTV had acquired UK-based Ignition along with Indiagames for Rs 1.28 billion in 2006.

The digital division will be spearheaded by Vishal Gondal as managing director. He and Samir Bangara, also MD of the division, will work in collaboration to drive DisneyUTV‘s future growth. Prior to his appointment, Bangara was COO in UTV Indiagames.

The DisneyUTV Digital team will manage all mobile, video, audio, broadband, ITV, games and virtual world‘s initiatives, with a combined audience reach of over 300 million in India.
Previous successes from the Disney and UTV teams in India include several innovative and popular products in the country including Audio Cinema, Divya Kathayein, Digital Studio, Sponsored Tweets, successful mobile games such as Aladdin, DLF IPL Cricket, Cricket Fever, Ra.One Genesis and Club Penguin.

DisneyUTV Digital teams will innovate and deliver unique cross platform and cross media digital experiences focused on entertaining the Indian digital audiences across age groups, the company said.

"Digital media in India is evolving rapidly with mobile leading the way. The country has the world‘s third largest mobile internet user base with over 121 million users (of whom 59% are monthly active users) as of December 2011 in addition to the 85 million PCs and growing number of tablets. With the launch of 3G and onset of 4G services, digital consumption of entertainment is at an all time high and is exhibiting strong growth with new monetisation models emerging around Freemium and ad-funded content," the company added.

UTV gaming and new media business had raked in Rs 1.2 billion, contributing to 13 per cent of UTV‘s total revenue in FY‘11. The company had registered revenue of Rs 1.07 billion from the segment in the previous fiscal.

The segment, comprising Ignition, Indiagames, True Games, web and mobile, had an operating profit of Rs 141 million, as against an operating loss of Rs 148 million in FY‘10.

Disney UTV Team :

  • Cyril Ferry - Executive Director - Mobile

  • Sameer Pitalwalla - Director - Video and Celebrity

  • Lavina Tauro - Director - Audio and Music

  • Deepak Ail - Director - Mobile

  • Hrishi Oberoi - Director - Games Publishing

  • Saishree Ashwin - Manager - Virtual Worlds

  • Tejraj Parab - Business Head - Games on Demand

  • Dushyant Saraswat - Director - Broadband & 4G initiatives

  • Sachin Janghel - Director - ITV

  • Aji Joseph - Director - Ad Sales

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