The LA Times reports today Disney to target boys with rebranded cable channel. Brilliant idea. My only question is: what took them so long? Disney bought out my alma matter Fox Family Worldwide in 2002, the former home of the hugely successful Fox Kids Network, home to the Power Rangers and Digimon franchises. Jetix was launched in 2004 on Toon Disney in hopes of capturing the minds of younger boys, but with limited success, especially compared to the likes of Hannah Montana and High School Musical. The Times reports
"Toon Disney pulls only 10% to 15% of the viewers of Disney Channel, despite the cable network's reach into nearly 70 million U.S. households. The Nielsen ratings reflect its hodgepodge lineup of geriatric kids shows, such as as "Power Rangers Jungle Fury" and recycled animated offerings such as "Batman: The Animated Series," and "Jackie Chan Adventures," and movies."
The new cable channel will be called "Disney XD," which I suppose sounds a lot more male than "Toon Disney" or "ABC Family." I think it's a great strategy actually. Disney has built up such a strong brand with girls of all ages. Any attempts to piggyback on those efforts to attract more boys would just dilute the brands they already have.
"You're fighting the brand perception, the very, very strong brand equity that's been in the marketplace for many, many years," says Greg Kahn, senior vice president of strategic insights for media buying firm Optimedia International USA Inc. "It would almost require a completely separate effort to reach tween boys, with a completely different name somehow associated with the Disney property, to reach these tween males."