Disney rolls into S. Africa, Finland

Company continues overseas expansion

CANNES — Disney-ABC-ESPN Television has inked multi-year deals with South African paybox M-Net and Finnish broadcast network Nelonen Media at the Mip TV programming market.

Both deals underscore continuing overseas expansion for Disney. They also illustrate Disney’s ability to reversion content for local markets, according to Ben Pyne, prexy of global distribution, Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks.

“The studios have been able to open up a lot of interest outside the traditional big European markets of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K. International is ever more important,” he added.

As the TV biz is rocked by near global recession, the Mouse House can play to its strengths by the large-scale diversification of its product to meet the needs of key-client broadcast nets and payboxes worldwide.

“The diversity and depth of our portfolios across  ABC Studios, ABC Family, Walt Disney Studios and Disney Channel is a major strength,” said Pyne.

Disney’s M-Net pact homes in on flagship films, but ranges across the portfolios of Walt Disney Pictures, Disney/Pixar and Miramax Films.

It encompasses “There Will Be Blood,” “Enchanted,” the Disney Channel Original Movie “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” “Wall-E” from Disney-Pixar, and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

Nelonen Media’s deal builds on a smaller, long-standing relationship. It covers first-run live action series from ABC Studios and ABC Family, future seasons of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy,”  new and library features from Walt Disney Studios, and ABC News content.

Also, Disney and Nelonen will use Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney animated and live action content to carve out a Nelonen weekday morning slot and a branded weekly ‘tween block.

“Given the story-telling and high production values of our content and our promotion commitment, we may be a less risky, tried-and tested option for broadcasters,” said Pyne.

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