Disney Topper Lauds Innovative Approach Global

'Desperate Housewives' to Be Remade for African Auds

CANNES — Ben Pyne, prexy of global distribution at Disney Media Networks, underscored the company’s dual focus on creativity and innovation at a presser at the Mipcom TV mart in Cannes on Monday.

On the creativity side, he emphasized the perf of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which has been licensed to broadcasters in 155 territories.

He also pointed to the success of Disney’s on demand services around the world.

“One of the things I am most proud about Disney’s distribution team around the world is the innovation that they take in how they deliver content to consumers,” he said.

SVOD service Disney Movies on Demand, which launched a year ago at Mipcom, is now available on 12 platforms in six territories across Europe, Middle East and Africa, and reaches more than 8 million consumers across the regions.

ABC TV on Demand, which bowed in 2010, has launched on 26 platforms in 16 territories in Europe, Middle East and Africa, with more than 60 million views. In the last year, ABC TV on Demand has launched in four new countries and on 11 new platforms, registering a 33% increase in reach and 80% increase in total views.

“These are innovative ways that we are working with our partners and our distributors everywhere in the world to try to be relevant and try to bring our content to consumers in new ways,” Pyne said.

He also announced a deal to reversion “Desperate Housewives” in Africa through a co-production pact with EbonyLife TV, which will air the series in 44 African countries. The skein, which will feature a pan-African cast and will be filmed on location in Lagos, Nigeria, will begin airing in  summer 2014.

EbonyLife TV CEO and executive chairman Mo Abudu told Variety: “We are going to make it relevant, number one, by using local talent — talent that our viewers will know and love; two, we are going to work with local stylists, local fashion designers, local interior designers.

“We are going to give the stories an African flavor. We will localize it, because there’s nothing that the West has that Africa doesn’t have: We love, we fight, we kiss, we make up. We like all the good things in life. There’s good and there’s evil globally. So all those human interests, those things that appeal to you, believe me, appeal to us also.”

Since 2006, five local versions of “Desperate Housewives” have been produced, including Turkish, Colombian, U.S. Hispanic and Brazilian.

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