MUMBAI: With the first phase of digitisation through excluding Chennai, the process of launching targeted channels has begun in the right earnest with The Walt Disney Company India making its preschool channel, Disney Junior, available in the Indian market.
Targeted at 2-7 age group, the pre-dominantly English channel will also have content in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Launched on 15 October, the subscription-led channel has been priced at Rs 13.3 on analogue cable and Rs 5.62 on digital networks. The ad-free channel will complete Disney‘s kids network comprising Disney Channel, Disney XD and Hungama.
Disney Junior, previously Playhouse Disney, began as a one and a half hour preschool programming block on Disney Channel in 2006. The channel is available across 144 countries in 21 languages.
Disney UTV executive director and Disney kids network business head Vijay Subramaniam feels that the launch of Disney Junior will fill in the need gap.
"Disney Junior will have content that will be fun and imagination but at the same time will add value by helping in developing life skills amongst the kids because 2-7 is a very tender age. It complements the current offering that Disney has in India," said Subramaniam, who will steer the four-channel kids network.
"After extensive research we found that the 2-7 age-group has its own set of programming needs which is different from 7-14 age-group. The research also showed that kids would love to watch theme-based fun stories," he added.
Subramaniam says that the channel has been kept ad-free because the target audience is very young and requires a lot more responsibility in terms of the kind of ads that can be aired.
The channel is currently present on major multi-system operators like Hathway, InCable, Den, GTPL in Gujarat and Fastway Cable Network in Punjab. As of now it doesn‘t have a presence on any of the DTH platforms.
Disney will be focussed on top eight cities in the initial phase with a special thrust on the Hindi Speaking Markets. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh Bengaluru, Chennai and Bengaluru will be the core markets for Disney Junior.
"The reason why we are focusing on the Hindi Speaking Markets in the initial phase is because we have a strong presence in that market. However, we also have three Southern cities as our core market outside of HSM in phase 1," Subramaniam explained.
Broadcasters are placing bets on the fast growing kid‘s genre which is expected to yield good results in an addressable system. Recently, Zeel had entered the kid‘s genre with the launch of its edutainment channel ZeeQ targeted at 4-14 kids.
ZeeQ will be a subscription-driven channel particularly since it has a strict ad policy wherein it won‘t carry cola ads or the ones promoting junk food.