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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 10:13 GMT
Disney launches India TV channels
By Jayshree Bajoria
BBC correspondent, Mumbai

Disney India launch
The channels will be broadcast in four different languages
The global media conglomerate, Walt Disney, has launched its first two television channels in India.

It is the company's first attempt to break into a market in which it estimates there are more than 100 million children below 10 years of age.

The multi-genre Disney channel and the animation-led Toon Disney are being broadcast in three regional Indian languages apart from English.

The channels will target different age-groups at different times.

The two channels will be available in English and Hindi in northern Indian and in Telugu and Tamil in the south.

While a morning slot on Disney targets pre-school children with education-based entertainment programmes, older children and adults will be offered films from the Disney stable like The Lion King and Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

Indian children spend only 10% of their television viewing time watching kids' channels... due to lack of high quality programming
Rajat Jain
Managing director, Disney India
Managing Director, Walt Disney Television International (India), Rajat Jain says there is a lot of focus on catering to local needs and tastes.

"For the first time, 24-hour Tamil and Telugu language kids channels are being launched. There will be programmes with Indian interactivity, interviews and Indian concepts," he says.

"There will be lots of original programming."

Boom time

Until 2001 there was only one children's channel in India, Turner International's Cartoon Network.

But this year alone three new channels have been launched - UTV's Hungama, Sony's Animax and Turner's POGO.

Despite the sudden glut of channels, Mr Jain is confident that his channels will do well.

"There are 25 kids' channels in the UK.

"But Indian children spend only 10% of their television viewing time watching kids' channels and we believe that this is due to lack of high quality programming which parents can trust and kids would like to see."

Walt Disney Co has tied up with India's Star TV network to distribute their channels.

Industry experts believe children are strong influences in a family's decision making process and therefore advertisements on these channels will not be limited to children's products.

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