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Walt Disney signs one-year pact with Zee Telefilms for animation content 

Sibabrata Das  
Walt Disney has signed a year-long contract with Zee Telefilms to supply programming for the Alpha group of regional language channels.

The two companies have signed a revenue-sharing deal. Zee has agreed to pay a minimum guarantee and will be marketing the Disney shows. "We have started with an annual contract. But it can be extended," said Buena Vista Television India chief executive officer Mr Pratik Basu. Disney will supply animation programming which will be aired every day for half-an-hour on the Alpha channels. The same series will run on the four Alpha language channels, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali. "We are dubbing the shows for Zee Telefilm's Alpha channels now. It will take us six weeks. We are targeting November 1 for launch on these channels," said Mr Basu. Disney had earlier pulled out its dubbed Hindi shows from Zee TV to settle for a three-year contract with Sony Television.

Walt Disney is also talking with Sun TV for a five-day slot on the Tamil language channel. "We are in advanced stages of negotiation for the Tamil and not the other Sun TV-owned group of channels. This will be for animated shows. But we have not yet decided on what shows to telecast on the channel.

It will not, however, be the shows which we run for the other language channels," said Mr Basu. Disney has acquired the half-hour slot between 5.30-6 pm for Rs 50,000. Sun TV, like Doordarshan, sells out its time slots rather than commission shows from production houses. The Disney shows are already available in Hindi, Telugu and English.

Even as Good Morning Disney and Disney Hour have moved to Sony TV, Zee TV has launched a one-hour block `Nickelodeon on Zee.' The branded block is in Hindi and airs from 9-10 am and 6-7 pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 8-9 am and 6-7pm on Sundays. Zee TV is also featuring fully dubbed episodes from Nickelodeon's award-winning libraries. Buena Vista Television India, a division of WD India, has secured the terrestrial marketing rights for the ICC cricket knock out tournament on Doordarshan. The `mini World Cup' will be simulcast on DD1 and ESPN Star Sports from October 3. "We got it directly from WorldSport and brought DD to telecast. We are targeting a revenue of Rs 25-30 crore from the event. Though the rights are with the group company, Modi Entertainment Network group, Buena Vista will handle the air time sales," said Mr Basu.

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