Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, confirms the company’s commitment to localisation in India in her keynote speech at FICCI FRAMES 2013 on March 12, 2013. Sweeney attributed Disney India’s success to a focus on the audience and a commitment to creating compelling stories.
“So how did creativity grow Disney Channel from ‘small national network’ to ‘huge global success’? And more importantly, how do we think we can create such success here? The answer to both questions is: by focusing on the audience, by creating compelling storytelling, by fulfilling our brand promise, and by taking risks and learning a lot along the way,” said Sweeney.
Disney India, which launched in 2004, evolved its traditional strategic direction to one that leans towards a “kid-driven, family-inclusive” brand by creating entirely new programmes that reflects the local Indian culture and expectations. Sweeney gave examples of local adaptations of U.S series Best of Luck Nikki and The Suite Life of Karan and Kabir, which are re-imagined versions of Good Luck Charlie and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody respectively.
The channel, Sweeney adds, has also stayed true to the simplicity of universal stories to connect with their Indian audiences as well as engaging local productions. It has since produced numerous long-form shows with multiple seasons and a Disney Channel Original Movie. Five shows are currently in production with four others commissioned for a pilot.
India is one of the largest markets invested in by Disney for local productions outside of the U.S. Most recently, Sweeney announced, that it was the first media company to sell content on iTunes when it was launched in the country, as well as to stream online with ads at the ABC website with their Full Episode Player.