New York— Disney ABC Kids Networks kicked off the upfront presentation season with a multiplatform pitch, including an upcoming broadband service featuring full episodes of Disney Channel series that could be preceded by commercials.
Starting this spring, Disney Channel series That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Kim Possible, among others, will be available free and on-demand at an enhanced DisneyChannel.com. Similarly, installments of Power Rangers and Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! will be available on JetixTV.com
Advertisers can stream full-length or customized spots before the shows, or static ads adjacent to the programming, in addition to the banner ads that already appear on DisneyChannel.com, said Tricia Wilber, senior vice president of advertising sales and promotions at Disney ABC Cable Networks Group.
Disney Channel — which, through its affiliate deals, is prohibited from running commercials — has pacts with a dozen marketers for PBS-style sponsorship ads, Wilber said.
“We’re well aware of what the brand means on-air,” said Wilber, who says the site will also feature short-form content, music video and bonus materials from original movies.
During the “Mix It Up” presentation, Wilber emphasized marketers could attach themselves to Disney Radio, Disney Publishing, the cable networks, Saturday morning block ABC Kids and Disney Online.
“We’re leveraging our platforms more so than in the past. That’s what hearing from advertisers. After years of hearing about kids multitasking, that’s what’s really happening now,” said Wilber.
Gary Marsh, entertainment president for Disney Channel Worldwide, said that during the 2006-07 season, 11 new series and 25 new films, including seven Disney Channel Original Movies, will bow across the networks. All told, the company will introduce 849 episodes of new and returning series.
Continuing its multiplex strategies, new original animated series The Replacements will premiere on both ABC Kids and Disney Channel in September. Live-action series Hannah Montana, starring country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter, Miley, will premiere on Disney Channel on March 24 and encore on ABC Kids in the fall.
With High School Musical and Twitches both drawing more than 7 million total viewers to their premieres, Disney Channel has high hopes for upcoming original films Cow Belles (March 24), Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (June), How My Personal Journal Became a Bestseller (July) and The Cheetah Girls 2 (August).
In the preschool space, Disney Channel’s “Playhouse Disney” block in May will roll out Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, an animated aimed at developing kids’ cognitive, social and creating learning skills. In the fall, a new multicultural animated series Handy Manny, featuring Wilmer Valderrama (That 70’s Show) as the voice of tool expert Manny Garcia will bow.
The four new series joining the Toon Disney/Jetix lineup are: the 15th iteration of Power Rangers; acquisition Jackie Chan Adventures; Oban Star Racers; and Yin Yang Yo, in which a panda and a pair of bunnies team to ensure the world’s survival.
With Toon Disney now in 50 million homes, the action Jetix programming block will no longer appear on ABC Family, starting in the fall.