MIPCOM: Disney Unveils Series of Digital Deals

"Agents of SHIELD"
"Agents of SHIELD"
 ABC/Justin Lubin

Putting the accent on the record results from its international efforts worldwide this year, Disney's top global TV distribution exec Ben Pyne said Monday in Cannes he expected a "fantastic" performance for the Mouse House abroad from both new and returning shows on the ABC schedule.

The network's top new series so far this fall, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, has been licensed now in 155 territories with premieres on several foreign broadcasters mirroring the strong start in the U.S.

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Pyne said his division, Disney Media Distribution, has leveraged resources across the Disney-ABC TV Group to accelerate delivery of the show to territories worldwide and distribute linear and new-media platforms close to the show's U.S. premiere.

Viewers in China, for example, will have access to the action drama 24 hours after it airs in the U.S. on Sohu leTV, iQiyi, Tencent and Tudou -- all online platforms that offer VOD services. Marvel president/publisher Dan Buckley was also on hand at the Disney booth to tout the series and meet with foreign clients.

The company also unveiled several other innovative deals in different parts of the world on the first day of MIPCOM. Among them:

•DMD and Fuso Ecosystem are jointly launching a Disney-branded subscription-based video-on-demand service in Hungary, which will include both the studio's live-action hits like Pirates of the Caribbean and animated blockbusters like Pixar's Cars. The deal is the first such SVOD arrangement for the Burbank-based company in Eastern Europe.

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•Since its launch a year ago ABC TV on Demand has launched 26 platforms in 16 territories in the Middle East and North Africa. Titles available through ABC TV on Demand in the area include Grey's Anatomy, Revenge and Castle. Similarly, Disney's Movies on Demand service is now available on 12 live platforms in six territories in the region.

•The company also unveiled plans for a Nigerian production of ABC's hit primetime soap Desperate Housewives, which will be co-produced by satcaster EbonyLife TV and will begin airing next summer.

In a statement, the CEO of EbonyLife, Mo Abudu, stressed getting the balance right between respecting the original U.S. series and responding to local tastes.

"In line with our mission, which is to create original, homegrown and premium content with an African soul, we will work to ensure parity with the original storylines and production values that have characterized the global series, without compromising on that very important African essence."

No financial details of the Disney deals were made available.

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