The Walt Disney Company Triples TV Animation Production in EMEA

The Walt Disney Company EMEA today announced plans to triple its investment in production of television animation in the region to reflect the growing importance of internationally sourced content for its global portfolio of channels. The plans will see output of animation increase from 2 to 7 long-form series per year for Disney Channel, Disney XD and Playhouse Disney.

Press Release from The Walt Disney Company EMEA

London, 03 December 2009: The Walt Disney Company EMEA today announced plans to triple its investment in production of television animation in the region to reflect the growing importance of internationally sourced content for its global portfolio of channels. The plans will see output of animation increase from 2 to 7 long-form series per year for Disney Channel, Disney XD and Playhouse Disney.

The European production drive will be spearheaded by a 14-strong London-based team led by Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channels EMEA, who will drive 2 long form series for Disney Channel, 4 for recently launched Disney XD and 1 for Playhouse Disney.

Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channels EMEA comments: “For The Walt Disney Company, it’s about creating world class animation that will appeal to kids and families both locally and internationally. Part of our ongoing strategy as a global company is to provide a local voice to the Disney brand in markets around the world.”

The London based production hub was created in May 2007 to drive forward investment in and development of long form animation outside of North America, for both European and global distribution. It has already achieved success with series such as Kid Vs Kat, Famous Five: On The Case, Bunnytown and this year’s Jungle Junction, which is proving popular with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Among the series currently in development are:

Disney Channel:

* I’m in Love with Rikki Doom, written and created by Dan Berlinka and Andy Williams at Dandy Productions (Brush Head, The Raoul Show), produced by Robert Chandler (Space Age Films), and designed by James A. Brouwer (7 Shades of Awesome).

* Tomax and the Amazing Things, designed and created by Peter Fowler, written by The Trap (Harry Enfield and Chums, People Like Us) and produced by Baby Cow (The Catherine Tate Show, Have I Got News for You).

* Out of Step, written and created by Morwenna Banks (The Appearance) and Carl Goreham (Meg and Mog ,Stressed Eric).

Disney XD:

* Max Helsing: Monster Hunter, created by Curtis Jobling (Frankenstein’s Cat; art director on Bob the Builder).

* Joe Giant, created by Alexander Bar (Lunar Jim).

* Inventory X, created by Andy Briggs (/Hero.com/Villain.net/).

The team has also co-produced the European shorts series The Secret Life of Suckers and Marvo the Wonder Chicken and is currently in production on the animated comedy Rekkit Rabbit from French producer Marathon.

Buhaj continues: “These new series need to stand up next to our unrivalled stable of hits like Hannah Montana and Phineas and Ferb, and we believe the wealth of creative talent in the UK and Europe will help us achieve that goal. At a time when much of the industry is cutting back its investment in new content, this is fantastic news for the creative community and a testament to the success of Disney’s branded channels with audiences around the world.”

Disney Channel Worldwide

Disney Channel Worldwide represents the most successful portfolio of kids’ channels in the world with 92 channels and/or channel feeds available in 169 countries and in 32 languages. In 2008, Disney Channel ranked as the # 1 kids’ channel in 17 countries/territories in Central and Eastern Europe. Disney Channel properties continue to rapidly expand into new markets across the world, playing a key role in introducing the Disney brand to new consumers.

About The Walt Disney Company UK

The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and its interactive media group.

TWDC UK has had a strong and enduring heritage for more than 75 years and employs more than 2,500. TWDC UK is a major film distributor with most recent successes including The Proposal’ and ‘Up’ - which was the UK and Ireland’s biggest animated film opening in 2009. The company is also one of the top distributors of programming in the region, working with local partners to bring network series, movies and branded kids and family content to TV viewers, via shows such as ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Lost’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Flash Forward’. The Disney Channel launched in the UK in 1995 and has since then maintained the number one position for children’s pay-TV channels in all UK and Ireland homes. More recently, in August 2009, Disney launched Disney XD, its 

first boy-focused, girl-inclusive channel. The London production of Disney’s ‘The Lion King' recently celebrated its tenth Anniversary at the Lyceum Theatre, where it has been seen by over eight million people at over 4,200 performances. ESPN, 80% owned by TWDC, established its pay-TV sports channel, ESPN, in the UK and Ireland in August 2009 and is a major investor in UK sports’ TV rights.

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