Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Disney's research into boys

In The New York Times, Brookes Barnes looks at Disney's new research led by Kelly Peña into what makes boys tick.
Children can already see the results of Ms. Peña’s scrutiny on Disney XD, a new cable channel and Web site (disney.go.com/disneyxd - not available in the UK). It’s no accident, for instance, that the central character on “Aaron Stone” is a mediocre basketball player. Ms. Peña, 45, told producers that boys identify with protagonists who try hard to grow. “Winning isn’t nearly as important to boys as Hollywood thinks,” she said...

In Ms. Peña’s research boys across markets and cultures described the television aimed at them as “purposeless fun” but expressed a strong desire for a new channel that was “fun with a purpose,” Mr. [Rich] Ross [president of Disney Channels Worldwide] said. Hollywood has been thinking of them too narrowly — offering all action or all animation — instead of a more nuanced combination, he added.


  1. If boys identify more with protagonists who ‘try hard to grow’, might that not be because the character had a better arc, encountered more slips between cup and lip – in other words, made a better story? (And there’s presumably more comedy – and therefore entertainment – if the player is a klutz.) Did Disney really need an academic to tell them what any reasonable writer could?

    And don’t girls also want ‘fun with a purpose’? Have they just really found out what kids like?

  2. Anonymous11:56 pm

    The answer is right there in the NY Times article: "Disney is relying on her insights to create new entertainment for boys 6 to 14, a group that Disney used to own way back in the days of Davy Crockett but that has wandered in the age of more girl-friendly Disney fare like Hannah Montana."

    Davy Crockett Lone hero. Expert shot. With a cool, almost magical, weapon. Defends innocent people. By killing bad guys. Well, duh.

    To learn that boys relate to this kind of story, Disney has spent *how* much?

  3. Anonymous10:06 pm

    What does Klutz mean?

  4. Anonymous5:43 pm

    Dear anonymous - you have a computer in front of you. See the keyboard? Go to Google and type "klutz" and "dictionary". You klutz.

  5. Anonymous12:13 am

    You should put a comma after the word "dictionary" and before "You klutz" as "You klutz" isn't a sentence but a phrase which is part of a complex sentence!

    I'm sorry, I only use real English; you should try it some time.

  6. Anonymous5:43 pm

    No, I intended it as a new sentence; it's a pause for dramatic effect. (Google "Emerson" and "foolish consistency".)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.