As Disney prepares to unveil its first original content from the Star Wars Universe since buying Lucasfilm in 2012, it’s doing so via its three Disney Channel streaming apps, as I wrote at Quartz.
“It’s critical for us to make sure we’re on the platforms the kids are consuming content on. And we’re learning, the size of the screen doesn’t really matter, it’s the content that matters most,” Lauren DeVillier, Vice President of Digital Media at Disney Channels Worldwide, told Quartz. “There’s a lot of repeat viewing with kids content; they’ll watch the same episode a thousand times. So especially with that audience, it’s an opportunity to be on the platforms they’re on.”
While the Disney streaming apps are getting more popular each year, 94 percent of the Disney Channel audience still watch via live TV or DVR.
While the wholesome company built on Mickey Mouse cannot create a series around the likes of drug kingpins or serial killers, its Disney Villains (as the company has been branding them in theme parks and merchandising) offer them an ideal entrée into at least semi-dark territory. An early attempt at this was Wreck-It Ralph, last year’s animated film hit about a misunderstood video game villain who becomes the hero, which grossed a healthy $471 million worldwide.
Now Disney is ready to go all-in on the notion that in pop culture, it’s good, and lucrative, to be bad.
It’s taken some time, but I feel like I’ve finally found the sweet spot for making entertainment news palatable to Quartz readers. My latest Quartz story was the best example of that yet, as I reflect on why Disney keeps snapping up everyone’s most beloved childhood icons like Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films:
Disney’s decades of cultivating its own franchises–via movies, TV shows, its theme parks and of course, incessant merchandising–has given it a viable blueprint as it seeks to make the most of its new purchases.
It’s so rewarding to discover that I’ve finally cracked the code on these Quartz stories, which have been both great fun and highly educational to write.
In my latest piece for Quartz, I looked at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s acquisition of preschool network Sprout, and focused on one key area that the company will be looking to improve: Sprout’s paltry streaming app.
While Sprout reaches 60 million homes and boasts 1.5 billion on-demand views since its 2005 launch, its app numbers are less impressive. Sprout’s app, launched in March 2012, has been downloaded 1.5 million times. Meanwhile, the Watch Disney Junior app, which Disney debuted in June 2012, has already been downloaded 5 million times, generating more than 650 million video views. Nickelodeon, which introduced a new app for its flagship network in February,plans to roll out a Nick Jr. app for preschoolers next spring.
However NBCUniversal decides to overhaul Sprout’s app, it had better do it quick: many kids, mine including, have abandoned it completely.