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Disney ABC Intl TV showcasing 11 new shows at Mipcom

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MUMBAI: At next week‘s television trade event Mipcom in Cannes, France, Disney ABC International Television, the distribution arm of US media conglomerate Disney, will be showcasing 11 new shows.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Disney-ABC International Television (Asia Pacific) VP sales Greg Johnson says, "We are showcasing our biggest ever lineup at Mipcom this year with 11 new series and 12 returning ones, including recent Emmy winners Ugly Betty, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters.

"We are very excited by our new slate of shows with a great roster of talent and unique storylines such as Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Army Wives, Reaper, Carpoolers and Private Practice, which is a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off. These shows have already been picked up by broadcasters in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines. We’re very confident that many of these new series will also resonate with audiences in India."

He adds that the company‘s kids programming slate has had a record breaking year both in the US and internationally, starting with High School Musical 2. "We are also presenting at Mipcom the brand new animated series for kids and parents Phineas & Ferb, pre-school series My Friends Tigger & Pooh and the live action comedy series Wizards of Waverly Place by the creator and executive producer of Hannah Montana.”

When asked about the genres where he expects to see an uptake, Johnson notes that every market is different. "We work closely with local broadcasters to find the right content fit for their programming schedules. Shows with a strong track record in the US typically do well for us in the Asia Pacific also.

"But at the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of the content and the storylines. A good story told in an entertaining way travels well – and we’ve proven that we tell some of the best stories on TV. A perfect illustration is Ugly Betty, which originated in Latin America, has been a big success in the U.S. and earned America Ferrera the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series at last month’s Emmy Awards.

"In the Asia Pacific, we’ve now licensed the US version to 11 markets, from Australia to Vietnam, and local audiences are now also falling in love with the charm of Betty. From our new slate, we are seeing interest for dramas such as Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice and Reaper as well as our new comedy Carpoolers."

Asked about the relationships the Mouse House‘s distribution arm enjoys with Indian broadcasters, Johnson says that it has strong relationships with a number of them, particularly Star, which telecasts many properties, notable ones being Desperate Housewives and Lost.

"In addition to that there is the Sab channel, which is now providing these series in Hindi for the first time. We also work closely with broadcasters Zee Studio, Filmy, Max, Star Gold and Star Movies who feature our movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films. We‘ve also just licensed the new hit cable drama Army Wives to Zee Cafe.

"In terms of kids programming, our Disney branded and Jetix animation blocks are available in Hindi and English on Star Plus, DD1 and Star One.

"On the formats front, soon Indian audiences will see the Indian version of reality makeover show Extreme Makeover, produced by Sony Entertainment Television and hosted by Mona Singh.

"India has huge TV potential and is an important part of our global business strategy. We were the first US studio with on-ground presence in India and we’ve recently strengthened our team with a new sales director (Swati Shetty), which is another step in our commitment to our clients. Our aim is to continue to grow and strengthen our relationships with clients in India as well as find new ways for people to enjoy and connect with our content."

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