Disney's 18-month global campaign for Pooh's 80th anniversary

MUMBAI: Disney is marking Winnie the Pooh's 80th anniversary in 2005-2006 with an 18-month celebration to be commemorated with new Winnie the Pooh entertainment from Disney Live!, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Records.

Special edition product from Disney Consumer Products and international support in all major regions will lead to the the 2007 premiere of Disney Channel's learning-focused CG-animated series for preschoolers, My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh's 80th Anniversary kicked off on 7 December with the New York premiere of Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh and will continue globally through 2007.

"Winnie the Pooh is one of Disney's premiere character franchises that remain as relevant to parents and kids today as it did 80 years ago. Pooh's 80th Anniversary celebrates the tremendous heritage of this franchise, and a key initiative for Disney is to continue to develop Pooh with new creative programs across the company that will keep it fresh for the next 80 years. The new Winnie the Pooh television show planned for 2007 is part of that effort," said Disney Corporate Brand Management senior vice president Matt Ryan.

In 2006, Disney Stores will feature special Winnie the Pooh product shops in celebration of their new infant product line and the 80th Anniversary; Radio Disney will launch "Pooh's-Days" every Tuesday on its Playhouse Disney block in the US; Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release Pooh's Grand Adventure on DVD for the first time in March; and a new, original Winnie the Pooh song - My Friend Pooh - from Walt Disney Records' artist, Ralph Covert, is also scheduled for release.

Throughout the celebration, special edition product from Disney Consumer Products will be available at retail, including the 80th Edition Winnie the Pooh plush exclusively at Toys 'R' Us through March. Disney Publishing will also release an 80th Edition Storybook and Coloring Book in Fall 2006.

The 80th Anniversary celebrates the London Evening News' first printing of a Winnie the Pooh story on 24 December, 1925. Winnie the Pooh's heritage with books and storytelling has left a legacy with children and fans around the world. First Book, a national nonprofit organisation with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books, will be one of the charitable organizations that will benefit from the efforts during the 80th Anniversary.

Disney Live! and First Book will hold reading events in the New York area throughout December, including a celebrity reading event at the New York Public Library on 20 December, 2005. Celebrity readers will read Disney/Winnie the Pooh stories to First Book kids and Disney Live! will preview their Winnie the Pooh stage show. First Book will also give away a Disney/Winnie the Pooh book to audience members.

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