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Disney India escapes kids' category

News, 28 January 2015

NEW DELHI: After ten years of focusing on the children's genre, Disney India is looking to extend its small-screen presence into family programming in a move aimed at widening audiences and increasing revenue.

"It's a clear progression and evolution," said Vijay Subramaniam, head of content & communication/Media Channels, Disney India told Impact.


"Everything we offer is complementary in nature and the idea is not to change our avatar, but to develop more avatars – those the brand inherently possesses."

A two-pronged approach will see children remain the focus during weekdays, while the whole family will be targeted at weekends.

"The strategy is to drive family audiences during primetime on the weekends and move Disney Channel into that new zone completely," explained Nikhil Gandhi, head of revenue/Media Channels. 


"We have got out of the rut of being typecast as a kids' entertainment business," he added.

Impact observed that the move was likely to gain Disney India not only a larger audience share at weekend but also a good quality audience that would enable it to broaden its advertiser base.

Children's channels account for 7.5% of total viewership but just 4% of advertising expenditure, with many of the products advertised on children's channels aimed at mothers, the passive viewers. Disney's weekend repositioning could turn them into active viewers.

But Gandhi wanted to shift the advertising-subscription balance away from the current 60:40 split. "Our business should be driven largely by distribution and ad-sales should just come in as an add-on," he said.

Another challenge Disney India faces is producing local content. There is no shortage of material from abroad which is all the Disney XD channel airs. Others, including the flagship Disney Channel and Hungama, have about 20% local content; only Bindass is 100% local content.

Subramaniam noted that many animated stories were universal but acknowledged that these did not necessarily meet all local preferences.

He pointed to "a steady focus on local animation and development", adding: "over the next six months, you will see five such initiatives being announced".

Data sourced from Impact; additional content by Warc staff