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Fast Start for Disney Junior

With last week’s successful ratings
launch of the Disney Junior kids brand during the Disney
Channel morning block behind them, Disney Junior executives
are focused on the 2012 launch of the kids’ brand’s
24-hour channel.

Disney Junior, which on Feb. 14 replaced the “Playhouse
Disney” daily block of preschool programming on Disney
Channel, will look to reach the 2-to-7 kids demo, as well as
their parents, on a 24-hour basis when Disney Junior takes
over the 75 million-subscriber SoapNet channel sometime
next year.


Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of Disney Junior Worldwide,
said returns from the early-morning Disney Junior
block will help formulate the network’s 24-hour lineup.

“We know that there’s a big content pipeline we have to
fill going from a block to a 24-hour channel, so we’re already
in the process of ramping up our development,” she
said. Launching the block now, she said, and “giving us a
year or so to fine tune things before we launch the channel
is a great luxury to have.”

Disney Junior jumped off to a fast start with viewers.
During its Feb. 14 debut within its 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. time period,
the block had a 35% viewership increase over Disney
Playhouse numbers from the same period last year,
according to Nielsen.

Leading the charge: new animated series Jake and the
Never Land Pirates
, Disney Channel’s No. 1 weekday series
debut of all time among total viewers (2.34 million)
and kids 2-5 (978,000) and its No. 1 preschool series launch
overall among boys 2-5 (618,000 and a 7.2 rating) and
women 18-49 (545,000 and a 0.8 rating).


Kanter hopes shows like Jake and the Never Land Pirates
will help expand the block’s base beyond preschool audiences
and reach 6- and 7-year-olds, as well as their parents.
The 24-hour Disney Junior channel will allow those
shows to air throughout the day, giving kids and adults
an opportunity to view them during traditional evening
viewing hours.

“Rather than just focus on classic preschoolers from
2 to 5, we’re hoping our block, and eventually our channel,
is going to bring in kids 5 and 6 and even early 7,
so we’re getting out of the pure preschool audience,”
she said. “We recognize that what a 5-, 6- or 7-year-old
wants to watch is different from what a 2- or 3-year-old
wants to watch, but I think when you have shows like
Jake, which is absolutely appealing to older kids, it gives
us an opportunity to bring in the older kids and parents,
which we know is critical to learning and development.”