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Disney switches on to Hindi market - MarketWatch, 9/13/06

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  • Disney switches on to Hindi market - MarketWatch, 9/13/06

    MarketWatch, 9/13/06
    Disney switches on to Hindi market

    By Joe Leahy and Sundeep Tucker in Mumbai

    Walt Disney is poised to make its second big push into India in less than six months with plans to become the first foreign media group to release original, local language programmes for the domestic children's TV market.

    Only two months after buying Hungama TV, a rival domestic children's channel, Disney is working on two original, live action Hindi-language TV series to be shown on its Disney Channel.

    "We'll have two shows on the air by the end of '06," Rich Ross, president of Disney Channel Worldwide, said in an interview with the FT.

    The move is part of an aggressive push by Disney into a fast-growing market in which its channels have lagged behind competitors such as Cartoon Network and Pogo, part of the Turner group.

    In a landmark deal announced in July, Disney bought control of Hungama for $30.5m and paid $14m for a 14.9 per cent stake in UTV Software Communications, Hungama's Mumbai-based parent group.
    Full Story: Disney switches on to Hindi market
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    Re: Disney switches on to Hindi market - MarketWatch, 9/13/06

    Mark well my words: Disney is either testing or preparing the Indian market for a Disneyland India. I'm going to jump to conclusions here. But with good reason. I have been waiting for the signs of this for a long time. I also have friends in government in India who have been talking about this for the last couple of years.

    Since most of my employees are in India, and I have been visiting for the last 4 years, I can tell you that Indian labor is cheap (great for building and staffing a themepark), but there is still a large wealthy class of people in the country (making it possible to maintain high ticket prices). The question is, can India's terrible infrastructure (roads, airports, energy, security) support a park?

    I'm also interested to see if Disney will buy an English language station in India as well. Only a portion of India's population speaks Hindi. Many of my employees don't speak or understand Hindi at all, they speak English and Punjabi. Which leads me to believe that the park will be built in the more Hindi speaking South of the country. With its multitude of religions and languages, any Disneyland India might want to focus on English as the primary language in the park. Most business men and wealthy individuals will at least understand English, even if they don't speak it well. However, if they aren't from a region of India that speaks Hindi, they won't necessary speak or understand Hindi.

    Whether or not a Disneyland India is positioned to draw in foreign tourists, developing a local market to the Disney brand is potentially worth BILLIONS. India and China are the two most populace nations on earth. Don't think that Disney doesn't already know this.

    Just the ramblings of a - Dusty Sage (Who is TOTALLY on board with a Disney India)
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