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Disney Extending Window on Kids Programming to Netflix

30 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Walt Disney Co. is quietly extending distribution windows for children’s content from the Disney Channel to Netflix, including opting for more out-of-season shows, CEO Bob Iger told an investor group.

Speaking May 30 at the Sanford Bernstein Strategi Decisions confab in New York, Iger denied Netflix’s rollout of a children’s web page and increased streaming access to kid’s programming has had the same impact some analysts believe it has had on Nickelodeon's slumping ratings.

The CEO said the overall strategy regarding alternative distribution platforms or windows is the ability to deliver incremental revenue that is at least more than if the product was delivered only on one platform.

“We believe that our windowing strategy both on Disney.com and Netflix has actually delivered more revenue to us for [kid’s product],” Iger said. “Does it provide consumers’ kids with an alternate form of watching? Yes, it does. But we don’t think it necessarily hurt us. Actually the Disney Channel is achieving its highest ratings ever.”

The CEO said Disney’s windowing strategy has morphed a bit from being “super aggressive” to slightly less aggressive because the studio felt it could still reap incremental revenue from licensing content through a subscription video-on-demand distribution window spearheaded by Netflix — but also extending content availability out a bit longer and replacing in-season shows with more out-of-season programming.

“We kind of get our cake and eat it too,” Iger said. “That’s where we’re headed on that.”

Meanwhile, look to Disney in the next week or two to roll out an app via Comcast that allows subscribers to the Disney Channel to access programming on portable media devices, including tablet computers, Iger said.

“We think it is a home run because it gives the consumer an opportunity to watch on a more time-shifted basis, while also giving more value to the cable operator,” he said.

He said the Disney Channel app (followed by ABC.com, ABC Family, etc.) would mirror the look and functionality of the recent ESPN app.

“It delivers more value to the multi-channel distributor and it delivers more value to the customer,” Iger said.

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