Impending Disney entry shakes competition out of lethargy

The impending entry of Disney Channel in the country seems to have shaken the competition out of a stupor.

Archrival Cartoon Network revamped its prime time programming band last week, in a bid to get older audiences hooked to animation. And now, the distant third channel in the reckoning, Nickelodeon is gearing up to face the Disney challenge. Jimmy Neutron is Nick's answer to Mickey & Donald's imminent official arrival in the country.

Jimmy Neutron:Boy Genius makes his debut on 22 December with a series of one minute animated segments to be followed by music videos from the movie, leading to its TV series premiere later next year. Neutron is Nickelodeon's first 3D, computer graphics imagery animated character, and the channel's first property to be developed as a simultaneous multi media franchise.

Cartoon Network got into preparation mode very early. It jettisoned its Turner Network Television movie block earlier this year to become a 24 hour cartoon channel. And it is planning to go one step further: it is talking about launching other regional language channel services, starting with Tamil in the not-so-distant future. The channel has also planned a toon party of sorts in Mumbai on 25 November to attract some more media attention to its toon stars.

All their efforts may pale in front of Disney's grand plans to spend $30 million in India. It is, however, yet to respond to its Indian partner for other ventures, the Modi Entertainment Network group, which has said it would like Disney to get a no-objection certificate from it before venturing alone into India.

Disney is scheduled to launch all its famous cartoons in Hindi on the proposed 24 hour pay channel. It may use most of its estimated 400 odd hours of its dubbed library, accumulated over four years of airing translated and dubbed shows on DD, Zee and Sony.

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