Disney Junior takes its next big step when it launches as a 24-hour channel Friday, March 23 (12:00 midnight, ET).
Press release from Disney Junior:
Disney Junior, the multiplatform brand for kids age 2-7, their parents and caregivers, is ready to take its next big step when it launches as a 24-hour channel this FRIDAY, MARCH 23 (12:00 midnight, ET). Leveraged by the strength of its inaugural affiliate partners Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon, the new channel showcases classic and new Disney characters and stories and embraces the same magical storytelling with heart that generations of fans have come to know and love from Disney Parks and Disney movies.
DisneyJunior.com also debuts a whole new look on Friday and will continue to deliver a complete digital experience including full episodes, games, activity guides, coloring pages and more.
Later this year, Comcast subscribers will have access to WATCH Disney Junior, an authenticated live simulcast of Disney Junior across a variety of platforms and devices (computers, smart phones and tablets) both in- and out-of-the-home. WATCH Disney Junior will also offer Comcast subscribers priority access to on-demand episodes online.
Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, "Parents have asked us for more of the Disney brand essence they know and love and stories that can also serve as learning tools." She continued, "They also want the choice of a dedicated destination for young viewers and now, through smart, funny, well-told stories with wonderful characters – all the hallmarks of a great Disney experience – we're ready to deliver a 24-hour destination unlike any other on television."
Disney Junior already has momentum as an ongoing daily programming block on Disney Channel and, with an emphasis on story and character, it has engaged the youngest viewers and expanded its demographic to reach ages 2-7.
Disney Junior also fulfills parents' expectations for learning-focused programming that encourage social and emotional development as well as cognitive skills. The curriculum is guided by a council of academic experts in transmedia, storytelling, early education, language development, diversity, emotional learning, digital trends and literacy.
The channel's programming schedule is anchored by the new original series "Doc McStuffins" (weekdays at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., weekends at 10:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.), favorites "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" (weekdays at 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., weekends at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.) and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (weekdays at 3:30 and 6:30 and 7:00 p.m., weekends at 5:00 and 5:30 p.m.) and in the "winding the day down, getting ready for bedtime" timeslots (6:00-8:30 p.m.): The Magical World of Disney Junior movies including "Toy Story 2" Friday, March 23, "Beauty and the Beast" on Saturday, March 24 and "The Princess and the Frog" on Sunday, March 25 (6:00 p.m.) the animated series "Guess How Much I Love You" (weekdays, 8:30 p.m.), "Gaspard & Lisa" (weekdays, 8:00 p.m.) and the short-form series "Quiet Is…"
Other favorite series on the Disney Junior channel schedule are: "Little Einsteins," "Handy Manny," "Octonauts," "Jungle Junction," "Special Agent Oso," "Chuggington" and "Timmy Time," "Tinga Tinga Tales," "Bunnytown" (in a short-form series), "Imagination Movers," "Johnny and the Sprites," "Lilo & Stitch," "101 Dalmatians" "Higglytown Heroes," "Timon & Pumbaa," "The Koala Brothers," "The Little Mermaid," "Charlie and Lola," "JoJo's Circus," "Rolie Polie Olie" and "Stanley."
In 2011, year to year, the Disney Junior programming block grew 28% among Kids 2-5, 39% among Boys 2-5, 16% among Girls 2-5 and 12% among Women 18-49. Disney Junior's flagship series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is the #1 cable TV series among Boys 2-5 and the premiere of the special "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns!" is the most watched cable telecast in nearly 10 years among Kids 2-5 (based on Live+7 data, 4.661 million Total Viewers and 1.846 Kids 2-5).
Disney Junior has launched as its own channel in 144 countries, in nearly 67 million households. It is available in 21 languages.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.