View Full Version : Walt Disney World & SeaWorld to offer programs for on-demand cable channels

05-17-2007, 12:57 PM
Disney to Offer Interactive VOD Channels
By GARY GENTILE AP 05.15.07, 5:22 AM ET

Some cable TV customers could soon be able to book a trip to a Disney theme park with the click of their remote controls.

The Walt Disney Co. later this month is launching an interactive video-on-demand travel channel on cable systems served by Time Warner Cable Inc. and Cablevision System Corp., the companies said Tuesday.

The channel will include original programs, including reality shows, episodic programs, concerts and special events highlighting Disney's domestic theme parks in Florida and California as well as its adventure travel business.

The shows will be offered free to viewers and will include interactive features, including the ability to request more information using buttons on the TV remote control.

The programs will reach more than 9 million people nationwide.

Although the deals with Time Warner and Cablevision are structured differently, Disney will create the programming and pay the cable companies to air it.

On Time Warner systems, viewers can use their remote to request brochures, DVDs and other information through the mail or via e-mail.

Cablevision subscribers can use a remote control to trigger a phone call from a Disney travel representative within 15 minutes, Disney said.

"We hope this kind of engaging entertainment really does begin the booking process for some families and continues to grow our engagement and relationships," Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said.

Cable systems are anxious to enable commerce using two-way connections and offer lots of video choices in part to keep viewers glued to their TV sets and away from the Internet.

"Cable systems see VOD as the way to break the Internet's hold on consumer entertainment," said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"Since the VOD system is a 24-hour pitchman of product, not having the ability to connect to a call center for more information would be an opportunity missed."

Disney tested the channel on Cablevision's system for several months last year.

The companies were able to monitor which programs people watched, whether viewers fast-forwarded through some parts and what parts received repeat viewing. The test helped Disney develop the shows that will debut the week of May 21 on Time Warner systems and May 29 on Cablevision.

"It has a lot of the interactivity of the Web," said Barry Frey, senior vice president of advanced platform sales at Cablevision. "It will also give a lot of details to Disney and Cablevision on how many people are watching, how long they are watching."

05-17-2007, 07:45 PM
Disney to launch on-demand cable channel
It will feature a mix of Disney entertainment and Disney information

By Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
May 15, 2007

Borrowing Walt Disney's earliest and most successful strategy for marketing his new Disneyland theme parks, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is launching an on-demand cable channel later this month that will feature programming mostly about Walt Disney World and other Disney vacation spots.

The new channel, which initially will be offered on both Cablevision and Time Warner Cable networks, will feature a mix of Disney entertainment and Disney information, much as the Disney-sponsored ABC-TV show Disneyland did in the early 1950s. Already scheduled are such programs as Making the Magic, Disney Fact or Fiction and Disney Travel Insiders.

Time Warner Cable expects to debut the channel, called Disney Travel on Demand, May 21 and Cablevision on May 29. Both channels will offer the programming "on demand" but unlike most on-demand movies and sporting events, the programs will be free. Eventually, it could be offered by other cable networks as well, said Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo.

The shows will draw on celebrities, including many who have moved through Disney entertainment in the past. For example, Joey Fatone and Michelle Kwan will host a show called "Dream Makers."

He described the programming as episodic, saying it will fall somewhere between reality TV and travel log programs. The channel will be interactive, though in different ways on the two networks. When viewers want more information, they merely have to click buttons on their remote.

Disney hopes that people will be so entertained they'll seek more information about the parks, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club or other destinations.

Rasulo noted the similarity with the Disneyland show, which premiered in 1954, almost a year before the Disneyland theme park opened. Much of the park's construction progress and planning were profiled in the show.

"This allows you to look back and think about how wonderfully Walt used this completely new technology to tell the world about Disneyland," Rasulo said.

05-17-2007, 09:05 PM
SeaWorld, Disney to offer programs for on-demand cable channels

Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 16, 2007

SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World are tapping into TV viewers' growing fascination with digital, on-demand cable channels and making them a new forum to sell a few more vacations.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, SeaWorld and a couple of cable network companies are hoping people will tune into free on-demand digital channels that provide entertaining looks at their theme parks and other destinations. In Disney's case, viewers will be just a remote click away from more information or even connecting with a travel agent.

Disney Parks and Resorts is developing TV programming specifically for the channels, with such episodic programs as Making the Magic, Disney Fact or Fiction and Disney Travel Insiders. The shows, some of which will feature celebrity hosts such as Michelle Kwan and Joey Fatone, will debut around the country later this month on two different cable networks, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems. Neither system serves Florida.

Officials of Bright House Networks and Comcast, two companies that provide cable service for much of Central Florida, said they have no immediate plans to offer the channel or their own versions, though they could.

On Time Warner, which has about 7.5 million digital service subscribers, Disney and SeaWorld's parent company, Busch Entertainment, will share the channel called "Journey TV" with other tourism sponsors such as the U.S. National Park Service. Disney's viewers will be able to click a button on their remote and have vacation package information sent to them. Busch is considering adding the option.

On Cablevision, which has about 2.5 million digital cable customers in the metro-New York area, Disney has leased its own on-demand channel and arranged higher-tech interaction. With a click of the remote, viewers will be able to connect directly with Disney travel agents.

While the interactive digital cable technology is fairly new and emerging, the strategy is as old as Disney theme parks, said Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. The programming is similar to what Walt Disney did in 1954 when he created the TV show Disneyland for ABC-TV -- mixing entertainment with enticing information to help promote the theme park he was building. Disneyland opened in 1955.

"This allows you to look back and think about how wonderfully Walt used completely new technology in television to tell the world about Disneyland, not by way of a travelogue, but by way of entertaining television," Rasulo said.

Busch will start with a show called The Making of Believe, about SeaWorld's killer whale show, for Time Warner. More shows will follow next month promoting Busch's other theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

"We're just trying to put our products in front of potential customers," said Busch Entertainment spokesman Fred Jacobs. "I think people will like what they see, and it certainly will be good for our business."

Disney tested the channel earlier with Cablevision. That company has already had success with similar interactive, on-demand channels for the Navy and other advertisers. Barry Frey, Cablevision vice president for advanced platform sales, called the strategy the future of television.

"Disney has taken the innovative step of completing the continuum. You can actually see a Disney vacation, and push a button and immediately that will go right to Disney," Frey said.

Scott Powers can be reached at spowers@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5441.

05-21-2007, 12:06 PM
Disney World Goes VOD
May 21, 2007 (Multichannel News)

Thinking about planning a trip to Walt Disney World? If you're a Cablevision Systems or Time Warner Cable subscriber, you can watch original, on-demand programming highlighting a vacation experience with Mickey Mouse and friends as part of a new service the operators will launch this month.

The "Disney Travel On Demand" service, produced by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, will include episodic, reality and special-event shows, as well as concerts and celebrity hosts, all focused on the magic of Disney's destinations around the world, according to the company.

In addition, viewers, via their remote controls, can request a telephone call back from a Disney travel representative to make all of their travel arrangements to one of Disney's destinations, including Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California and Adventures by Disney vacations.

Among the Disney On Demand programs set to debut on Time Warner May 21 and on Cablevision May 29: Making the Magic, a reality show that goes behind-the-scenes of a Disney World Resort show; Disney Fact or Fiction, which reveals secrets about the theme parks; Dream Makers, in which unsuspecting guests are given a unique Disney travel experience; and Disney Travel Insiders, which offers viewers with unique travel tips and tricks for experiencing a Disney vacation.

05-22-2007, 05:42 PM
I have just tried the on-demand Disney Travel Channel for the first time. Although it seems like a big commercial, I thought it was pretty neat channel. It is set up where there are several different categories, which have different episodes in them. It gave me my little dose of the parks for the day. I hope they continue to produce episodes for the series.


05-22-2007, 06:11 PM
Just in case anyone is trying to find the channel, on Time Warner Cable in South Carolina, its listed as "Journey TV on demand". Once the channel downloads, you can choose from Disney Travel or other locations.

06-04-2007, 07:52 PM
I'm in Ohio and just checked this out. The channel is there "Journey TV" but all that comes up is read words saying to come back and blah, blah, blah. :guilty: :mad: I really wanted to watch this. Oh well, guess like everything else from Time Warner for where I live, I will have to wait, and wait, and wait.

At least I know it's on somewhere else and will keep checking back.

06-18-2007, 05:00 PM
I have Comcast. Darn! :mad:

Yensid Srevol
06-18-2007, 11:33 PM
Does anyone know if Directv will be offering this? I love my TiVo and would love to have Disney on demand, too!:happytv:

06-19-2007, 09:52 AM
We watched all the episodes this weekend. I loved the one about Walt's Apartment!

The one about 'Making the Magic'- the reality tv aspect of it- that one I thought was bad. They were trying so hard to drum up suspence- will he be able to learn the routine? It was cheezy, IMO.

Anyone watch the Joey Fatone red carpet one? Who were all those so-called 'celebrities'? I only recognized one or two... they needed to have captions!

My dd loved the Year of a Million Dreams mickey suite- I want a magic mirror like that! I hope they do an episode that tours the cinderella castle suite as well!

The only thing I dread is that I heard Elizabeth Hasselback will be the host on the touring tips one- I can't stand her. oh well!

But all in all, we liked the shows!