Cape Town – The Walt Disney Company in South Africa explains why the Mouse House will be targeting small children as young as 4 watching Disney's TV channels on DStv with commercial advertising.
Disney says MultiChoice is supportive of the change.
Disney now wants to do commercial advertising to children on its previously ad free channels Disney Channel (DStv 303) and Disney Junior (DStv 309) in conjunction with DStv Media Sales and Disney's Disneymedia+ which will be specifically targeting the available audience which includes very small, pre-school children.
From November Disney's Disneymedia+ will be selling to kids as young as 4 when what the TV and ad industry calls "spot advertising" is added for the first time to Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
The Disney Channel reaches 287 000 kids between the ages of 4 and 14.
Disney Junior which reaches 1.3 million kids from the age of 4 and up will now show commercials and advertising from November.
Disney XD which has been boy focused with somewhat older viewers and more action-oriented shows launched in 2011 and has been carrying advertising.
DStv Media Sales, MultiChoice and Disney are now ready to put commercial TV adverts in front of little eyes on channels which DStv subscribers have come to trust not to carry the crass commercial considerations found on other kids channels with a reputation less sterling than the Disney brand.
The two Disney channels - one aimed at young kids and teens and the other at toddlers and pre-school kids - will start running commercials from November.
"Disney XD has carried commercial advertising since its launch in South Africa in 2011 and now Disney Channel and Disney Junior will follow," Disney tells Channel24.
"Disney Channels carry advertising in many other markets worldwide," says Disney.
Disney: Other kids’ channels are doing it
Disney says the Disney Channel and Disney Junior will now also start to carry TV commercials because "DStv airs other children's channels that have carried commercial advertising for some time so the platform's audience is used to seeing advertising on children's TV".
Disney says DStv and MultiChoice "are supportive of this change".
How will DStv choose what advertising will be run? "The Walt Disney Company Africa decides which advertising runs on its channels and we have strict internal guidelines on the type of advertising we carry. In all instances, advertising must comply with relevant local and international legislation," says Disney.
Asked if there's advertising that DStv won't run, Disney says "advertising which is not appropriate for Disney's children and family audience will not appear on the channel".
"In addition, as part of Disney's commitment to support families' desires to lead healthier lifestyles, Disney will not accept advertising from brands which do not comply with its healthy living guidelines. This is a policy that is already in place for Disney XD".
Why TV commercials specifically aimed at very small children?
Channel24 asked why DStv and Disney are now allowing advertising on Disney Junior to be shown to very small children.
"Disney takes its commitment to its viewers extremely seriously and we will be especially careful as we do not want to betray the trust that so many families have in us".
"All advertising appearing on Disney Channels including Disney Junior, will be vetted to ensure it is age and family-appropriate and conforms to both local guidelines and relevant international guidelines such as BCAP and CAPCODE, as well as our own internal guidelines".
In June this year MultiChoice and Disney were fined R5 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for showing a horror promo to young children without the proper age restriction.
The BCCSA in its judgment said that "the rights of parents and caregivers of smaller children have been violated" by Disney and MultiChoice and that parents and caregivers have the right to be informed about the nature of material to which their children are exposed to on television.