Upfronts / Newfronts

At Digital-Video Upfront, Disney Interactive Pitches Talking Tom, Shows for Mom

In Contrast to Web Natives' NewFront Pitches, It's Not Trying to Take on TV

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Unlike the web natives participating in the NewFront -- online video's attempt to tap TV ad budgets by aping the upfronts -- Disney Interactive was careful at its presentation Thursday morning not to compare its original digital shows with TV. For Disney, the NewFront is about making its digital platforms complimentary to its cable channels.

Talking Tom Cat, an app that Disney is adapting into a web series
Talking Tom Cat, an app that Disney is adapting into a web series

Disney's pitches to media buyers included "Talking Friends," a 10-episode series based on the popular Talking Tom apps.

Disney is also turning its homegrown online and mobile game, "Where's My Water," into a series. That one features Swampy the alligator, Disney's first original character born in mobile.

Online-video music sensation Christina Grimmie has been tapped for a new show about gaming culture called "Power Up," where she will highlight online games, offer tips and tricks, and use social media to engage with viewers.

But moms, it seems, may present the biggest opportunity right now for Disney, which bought the mommy blog Babble in November.

Disney's pitch Thursday played up its daily talk show, "Daily Shot," on which comedian Ali Wentworth (also the wife of George Stephanopoulos) gives busy parents a dose of news, celebrity gossip and other items they might have missed. The series recorded its 63rd episode live at the event.

"That's Fresh" and "Thinking Up" are DIY-type programs that give parents quick tips on cooking and playing with their kids, while "Moms Of" highlights mothers of remarkable people such as athletes, musicians and actors.

Disney noted that some of its content for moms may also appear on air.

All of the digital content stays true to the typical short-form online video format, with three-to-five-minute run times. It will appear on Disney's own distribution platforms, such as Disney.com and Babble, as well as on YouTube and Yahoo.

According to ComScore, Disney's portfolio of websites and distribution platforms reaches nearly 100 million unique visitors.

Disney struck a deal with YouTube in November to spend $10 million to $15 million on original video shorts to a co-branded channel.

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