Mouse all over the Mart

CANNES: Remarkable! How a year can make such a difference to a network. If there is one media powerhouse that seems to be here, there and everywhere at Mipcom 2005 it is Disney. Right from the main Palais and splashed across the frontal facades of the main hotels facing the waterfront, the Little Big Mouse can be seen almost anywhere you look.


And it‘s not as if Disney is doing the Mickey on the delegates attending the mart. It‘s been a stellar year on the television front for the media powerhouse. And all of that great news has been principally on the back of three monster global hits - Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey‘s Anatomy. ABC is currently the number one network in the US and has shown double digit ratings growth in all demographics.

As for Buena Vista International Television, the distribution arm of Walt Disney Television International, it‘s been a wild ride on the gravy train. $ 1 billion in revenues, and 28 per cent growth and counting are just some of the numbers thrown up by BVITV.

Not surprisingly, a huge amount of business for BVITV has been coming in from the "emerging markets" (maybe its time they did away with that nomenclature) India, China, Russia and Central Europe.

As regards properties that are expected to make a splash when they hit Indian shores BVITV-AP senior vice president and managing director Steve Macallister mentioned Grey‘s Anatomy (the medical drama is second biggest new show in the US) and Commander In Chief (revolves around the US president). In the kids category, there is Little Einstein, O Ban Star Racer (part of the Jetix block) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

A notable feature at Mipcom is that Disney has made the mart the launch pad for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The education oriented CGI animated series will premiere on Disney channels worldwide in the second quarter of 2006 and will be available for debut on terrestrial outlets in September 2006.

And in keeping with the general gung ho feel within BVITV, the market has seen a number of announcements being made. Some of the notable ones of interest to Asia include the local production for India of Extreme Makeover and the sale of Home Improvement in the Russian territory.

Meanwhile, BVITV-Asia Pacific announced today that it had completed a deal with Korea‘s largest multi-program provider Orion Cinema Network, to acquire Asian distribution rights for OCN‘s first TV miniseries production, COMA. The show is expected to start broadcasting in Korea in November on OCN‘s movie channel. Among other announcements made today was the production licencing agreement for the reality series I Wanna Be A Soap Star with Ukranian commercial broadcaster Inter TV.

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