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Disney India eyes acquisition of 10 TV series at Mipcom

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company (India) Pvt. Ltd. has big plans for Mipcom, the television trade event, this year! The company is looking to buy atleast eight to 10 television shows for its three channels in India which include Disney Channel, Jetix and Hungama TV.

The company is already in negotiation with licensors from across the globe (namely Canada and Japan) and will use Mipcom as a platform to close these deals.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com Walt Disney Television International (India) director production and programming Aparna Bhosle says, "Throughout the year we shortlist content from across regions and have zeroed in on the specific programmes. We will be going to Mipcom to close these deals and conclude the legalities involved, as well as meet our licensors. We will buy atleast eight to 10 shows for our three channels."

"In some cases, we will also block shows even before production is complete, so two to three years hence we can purchase those properties."

When queried about the financial negotiations that are a part of the procedural acquisition process, Bhosle says that the cost of acquisition is in the range of $600 to $2500 for every half hour of a property. The rates of a show largely depend on the performance and popularity of the property, its newness and quality of animation. Disney is looking buy rights to television shows for a duration of five years rather than three.

Some exhibitors that Disney is in talks with include Nelvana, 4Kids Entertainment and Asastu DK among others.

"All three kids channels from our network depend heavily on acquired content. 80 per cent of content on Hungama TV is acquired, while 40 per cent and 20 per cent of programmes on Jetix and Disney Channel are bought. However, we are looking to up the amount of acquired shows on the Disney Channel," adds Bhosle.

This move, to up acquired content on the Disney Channel marks a significant shift in its programming strategy. Earlier the channel was pushing a host of locally produced shows like Vicky Aur Vetaal, Dhoom Machaao Dhoom, Akkad Bakkad Bambey Bo and Art Attack.

The Disney Channel is also now considering introducing tween focused anime content, which is a move away from its previous tween live action thrust.

"For the Disney Channel we will be eyeing tween focused anime and live action shows, while the focus for Jetix, will be to replenish action adventure series and comedy anime for Hungama TV," adds Bhosle.

Apart from TV series, Disney is also willing to explore the movie catalogues of exhibitors like Fox and Sony, even though the company already has its own bank of films.

More importantly, Disney‘s agenda at Mipcom is clearly outlined. The programming heads from across the globe will assemble at Cannes five days before Mipcom kicks off to meet and interact with the various licensors. In some cases, even multi - territory deals will be struck that may include worldwide rights or specific to the Asia Pacific region.

Mipcom will be held from 8-12 October 2007 in Cannes, France.

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