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Disney takes the family route with new offerings

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MUMBAI: A new year brings with it a lot of new resolutions and expectations, and to fulfill the audiences ‘entertainment ‘ wishes are the 800 plus channels which every year create new properties to keep the EQ high.

Disney channel, with an aim to up its ante in the genre, is launching five new properties in the end of January 2015 to not only reach out to its 4 to 14 year olds TG but the family as a whole.

The new three-hour live-action weekend programming strategy, which has been worked upon for almost 12 months, is the foundation of the channel’s next 10 year plan. “We stared off as kids only channel 10 years back and after winning the loyalty of our TG, we think it is the right time to move on and carter to the whole family,” says Disney India Medianetworks content and communications VP Vijay Subramaniam while adding, “This has set the stage for 10 years of Disney in the country.”

With shows like Maan Na Maan Mein Tera Mehman, Kabhi Aise Geet Gaya Karo, Goldie Ahuja Matric Pass, Laage Raho Chachu and Zindagi Khatti Mithi, the channel wants to make weekends a family time. “Shanivar aur Ravivar, Parivar Ke Saath is out motto and we will work towards it as Disney brings out the ethos of family,” says Subramaniam.

The five shows with varied timings of 44 minutes, 22 minutes or even shorter, saw the channel getting an overwhelming response from the producers like Cinevistas, The Troublemakers and many others as they approached them. The channel also feels that the new propositions will get the advertisers excited. Says Disney India Medianetworks VP and revenue head Nikhil Gandhi, “For the Rs 350 crore business with seven channels in the genre, apart from a few regional ones, the growth has remained between 5 to 10 per cent. So, this is an opportunity for us to upscale our brand and these shows will help us compete with the GECs.”

The programmes, focusing on the Hindi speaking markets (HSM) won’t be dubbed into regional languages unlike the others and aims to be at par with advertising rates charged for the shows of GECs. “Before we launch the series, advertisers should be on board as we have started talking to them. And we hope to see a 100 to 200 per cent hike in ad rates,” says Gandhi optimistically.

As co-viewing has increased, there has been a significant increase in number of non-conventional advertisers like water purifiers, printers, cooking oils etc that have been reaching out to these audiences and want to continue doing so.

The channel has already undergone a revamp, and if these programmes fulfill its Return on Investment (RoI) expectations then the number of such shows will be multiplied. The weekend programming FPC will also include Disney classics and animated movies. There are no immediate plans to change the weekday schedule. However, these shows will be repeated post 7 pm on weekdays.

The three brand stories, conceptualised by Taproot, have already hit the small screen. The network will utilise all these avenues to strengthen the new positioning and programming strategy. “The brand stories are already running with ‘PK’, so we are going to use all our channels and other mediums for promotions,” says Gandhi.

Stating the example of how the channel launched the video of Mickey on this birthday online before television, digital is an important platform for it. Without divulging more details the spokespersons from the channel agree on the fact that marketing will be engagement based. However, on-ground activities or collations with schools are not on the blueprint.

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