Winnie the Pooh's 80th anniversary

18 month-long festivities are being planned in honour of Pooh Bear's 80th anniversary.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 23:11 IST

Disney is marking 'Winnie the Pooh's 80th anniversary' in 2005-2006 with 18 month-long celebrations to be commemorated with an exciting range of entertainment activities and special edition products for fans across the Asia-Pacific region.

A Disney release here yesterday said the anniversary celebrations kicked off late last year with the New York premiere of Disney Live! and continues globally through 2007 with entertainment from Disney Live!, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Records. Disney Consumer Products will also offer exciting special edition products including clothing, stationery, toys and much more.

The release said a new, original song "My Friend Pooh"-- from Walt Disney Records' artist Ralph Covert-- is also scheduled for release with celebrations culminating with the 2007 premiere of Disney Channel's learning-focused CG-animated series 'My Friends, Tigger and Pooh' for pre-schoolers.

In India, Disney Consumer Products has several reasons to celebrate this anniversary. Winnie the Pooh has been in India for over seven years and is today the highest selling plush toy in the market, the release said.

Winnie the Pooh products range covers infant and kids apparel, back to school products, stationary, toys, footwear, the newly launched Disney-Nerolac paints and bedding. Winnie the Pooh contributes about 30 per cent of the Disney's licensing and merchandising business across the country, the release said.

"Winnie the Pooh is one of Disney's premier character franchises that remain as relevant to parents and kids today as it did 80 years ago," Matt Ryan, Senior Vice President, Disney Corporate Brand Management was quoted saying in the release.

"Pooh's 80th anniversary celebrates the tremendous heritage of this franchise, and a key initiative for Disney is to continue to develop Pooh with new creative programmes across the company, which will keep it fresh for the next 80 years. The new Winnie the Pooh television show planned for next year is part of that effor," he said.

"Winnie the Pooh has a rich heritage and has made a big impact on generations of kids--his messages of friendship, imagination and adventure--are timeless and felt here in India and the Asia-Pacific region as much as it does around the world. Pooh is very popular in the region and enjoys very high awareness and we believe the children across the country will be excited to celebrate the 80th anniversary for Pooh" said Rajat Jain, Managing Director, the Walt Disney Company (India).

Disney Worldwide Outreach community initiatives will also host "Reading Together" programmes during vacation periods to support this worldwide campaign.

The release said Winnie the Pooh reaches children and families through seven theatrical releases, more than 30 home videos, an award-winning television series, consumer products and in Disney theme parks around the world.

Winnie the Pooh entertainment and products can be found in more than 38 countries with books and videos translated in 29 languages. Additionally, Forbes magazine has consistently ranked Winnie the Pooh and Friends a top-earning character franchise with over US five billion dollars in retail sales worldwide, the release added.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 17:20 IST