Three-quarters of children are spending an increasing amount of time on smartphones and tablets, including nearly 40% of babies under two years old. So, although it’s a first, it’s not entirely surprising Disney is bringing “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West,” a television show debuting November 24th, to tablets before it makes a more traditional cable debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
The decision to embrace a tablet-first debut is part of a strategy to capture what Disney Junior Worldwide general manager Nancy Kanter tells the New York Times amounts to “billions of minutes spent watching” by members of its core demographic of two- to seven-year-olds. And in case Kanter’s claim to “billions of minutes” sounds lofty, consider this: The Watch Disney Junior app has been downloaded an estimated 5 million times since last June, generating 650 million video views in the process.
But the real winners in Disney’s play for the second screen may be the parents who no longer have to compete with their children for control over the first screen: Their home televisions. Disney-ABC Television Group’s digital media chief Albert Cheng tells the Times: “We get a lot of e-mails from dads saying, ‘Thanks for giving me back my TV.’”