updated 12:52 pm EDT, Mon October 28, 2013
Disney's newest kids' show to hit tablets first
The next show from Disney will make its first appearance not on televisions, but on iPads and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets. Speaking with The New York Times, the entertainment giant confirmed that "Sheriff Callie's Wild West" will launch first on the Watch Disney Junior app, as well as on a related website. The app version of the show will debut on November 24, and the television version will show up on Disney's traditional networks early next year.
"This is an entirely new approach for us," a Disney executive said. "We have been amazed at how quickly kids have embraced this new technology. We're talking billions of minutes spent watching."
Disney's move highlights both the ease with which younger users take to devices like Apple's iPad and Android-powered tablets and the innovative lengths to which content producers must go in order to reach those tech savvy younger viewers. Tablets are present in more than half of American homes with children, according to Disney's own research. That figure is up 40 percent from last year. Companies like Disney find themselves competing with popular tablet games and other apps for users' time, and the focus on mobile apps is Disney's way of countering that.
The Watch Disney Junior app has seen more than five million downloads since its introduction in June of 2012. Available on iOS and through Amazon's App Store, the app has generated more than 650 million views in a year.
Other Disney initiatives show the company's dedication to the tablet as a means of reaching children. The DisneyJunior.com website underwent a redesign this month to give it a "tablet first" layout. Also, Disney encourages families to take an iPad to the movies in order to have a second screen experience for films like The Little Mermaid.