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Disney Company to use African characters

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express

The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) together with its subsidiaries and affiliates has announced the plans of adopting African characters in most of its entertainment programmes.

The move is to give Africans the platform to showcase their talents to the world. The TWDC is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments.

These segments are media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media group. The TWDC is the home of Disney, Disney Pixar, Marvel, ABC Studios, ESPN and Lucas film.

The Walt Disney Company Africa (TWDCA) has been active across the continent, primarily out of South Africa for over 50 years. The TWDCA has three channels on the MultiChoice DStv platform which operates across the continent. The channels are Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD. These channels are the best leading provider of children’s TV channels in Africa.

Disney is also one of the top distributors of US programming in the region, bringing network series, movies as well as Disney-branded kids and family content to TV viewers, including top-rating US network ABC Studios series.

According to research conducted in these territories, Disney is the most highly-regarded international entertainment brand in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

“Disney is a global family entertainment company with a strong commitment to South Africa and Africa,” according to Deirdre King, Head of Marketing for The Walt Disney Company Africa, adding  that “Being part of the local community is a core part of Disney’s commitment to the market as is recognizing the importance of Africa’s unique culture and supporting the development of local creative industries by collaborating with relevant stakeholders and audiences.”

She stated that local initiatives across the continent include the dubbing of the hit Disney Junior series Doc McStuffins  in Swahili for East Africa; Desperate Housewives Africa, produced in Nigeria with Ebony Life TV (DStv Channel 165) as the first format show Disney is producing on the African continent.

King noted that they have collaborated on two Fashion Halo Projects in conjunction with SA Fashion Week. In 2013 they launched Inspired by Minnie fashion collection with renowned local designer Suzaan Heyns, a first for an African designer. Also in March of this year they ran the first ever inspired by Marvel collections where six (6) designers from across the continent were chosen to create a fashion line, inspired by the Avengers characters.

She mentioned that they also have run five (5) successful mentorship programs through the Disney XD Aim High Initiative, which gives teens the chance to spend a day with their hero.

Disney is furthering its support for the local entertainment and animation industry by offering a mentorship program (by studio and television executives in Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California) to Triggerfish Studios’ The Story Lab, a continent-wide search for Africa’s most talented writers and directors, giving them the opportunity to develop their ideas into potential episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.


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