Catherine Powell, Walt Disney Company EMEA

Exclusive Speaker Interview with  Catherine Powell, SVP/General Manager Media Distribution, Walt Disney Company EMEA

What plans does Walt Disney have to expand or develop its offering in the EMEA region over the next year?

We will continue to work with our clients make our channels and content available to consumers in ever more flexible ways – for example, we are enhancing our Disney Channel on Demand and ABC TV on Demand services, and also launching a new branded film service across EMEA – Disney Movies on Demand – complementing our existing agreements with linear and non-linear partners. In terms of content, we have exciting movies coming out such as Oz The Great and Powerful, The Lone Ranger, and Iron Man 3, new seasons of hit ABC Studios series Revenge and Once upon a Time, and Disney Channels will launch the much-awaited Teen Beach Movie.

To what extent do you believe localisation of your services can add value, and to what extent do you believe your content and schedule has universal appeal across different territories?

Great storytelling and characters will always have universal appeal, and this high quality content will always be the driving force of our business. And to complement this, we take a tactical, market-by-market approach to the opportunities that localisation brings for deeper engagement with our audiences, such as reversioning our ABC Studios scripted series (recently done with Revenge and Private Practice in Turkey). And back in 2007, Disney Channels set up a global original programming hub based in London tasked with seeking out the best creative talent in Europe to make shows for the local and global markets, whose ecent hit series include Jungle Junction, Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja and Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh.

How important are new digital distribution channels – tablets and TV everywhere services as well as the web – to your strategy and that of your existing distribution partners?

Developing digital channels are an important element of our strategy, when viewed holistically as part of our overall distribution strategy – to ensure that our channels and content are widely available to consumers, and in a range of flexible, innovative ways.

Would you consider an OTT strategy in any circumstances, either on your own or in partnership with a disruptive new distribution player?

We work with OTT services such as Netflix, LOVEFiLM and Blinkbox, as part of our wider linear and non-linear content distribution strategy.

How important will channel brands be relative to brands for individual content titles and characters going forwards?

We believe that both channel brands and individual content brands are important – a channel brand is ultimately only as good as the content that it carries, although a strong channel ‘halo’ brand adds kudos and buzz to its individual programming. We are fortunate to be able to offer breadth and range in our channel and content brands (e.g. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ABC, ESPN), combined with a unique heritage of engaging every member of the family, and this brand quality and trust is of utmost importance to us.