Disney to Bow Children’s TV Show Early on App, Web28 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
‘Sheriff Callie’s Wild West’ streams in November on the Watch Disney Junior app and Web, next year on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior
The Walt Disney Co. plans to launch episodes of a new children’s TV series early via app on tablets and the Internet in an effort to capture a growing audience of preschool-age kids with access to portable media devices.
Citing internal research, Disney claims 40% of households with children ages 2 to 7 have a tablet or two. Many of those connected households allow their children to stream select programming via regulated sources such as Netflix Kids, Hulu Kids and other ad-free platforms, instead of in front of the television.
In Disney’s most recent fiscal call, CEO Bob Iger reiterated that along with China and international markets, digital distribution was a key initiative across many Disney brands.
Viacom’s Nickelodeon next spring reportedly will bow a Nick Jr. app targeting preschoolers.
Meanwhile, Disney is bowing the first nine episodes of “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” beginning Nov. 24 on the Watch Disney Junior app and website. The TV series launches in early 2014 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Similar to Netflix programming, viewers will be able to watch all nine episodes at launch — a practice known as binge viewing.
“This is an entirely new approach for us,” Nancy Kanter, EVP and GM of Disney Junior Worldwide, told The New York Times. “We have been amazed at how quickly kids have embraced this new technology. We’re talking billions of minutes spent watching.”
Indeed, Disney said the Watch Disney Junior App has been downloaded 5 million times since its June 2012 launch, and has generated more than 650 million views.
In addition to the app, the website DisneyJunior.com has gotten a makeover with pages aimed to replicate a tablet screen, according to Albert Cheng, media director with Disney-ABC Television Group.
“It’s important that we offer something real there to reinforce the value,” Cheng said.