Disney to sponsor Speaking Clock with voice of Tinker Bell
LONDON - Those who use BT's Speaking Clock to set their watches by are in for a surprise when they dial the service from Sunday -- rather than being greeted with the traditional pips, callers will instead hear a jingling bell and the American voice of "Disney-fied" fairy Tinker Bell.
The entertainment group has signed a three-month deal to sponsor the service, a move designed to generate buzz surrounding next month's DVD and Blu-ray release of cartoon 'Tinker Bell'.
The Speaking Clock was previously sponsored by watch brand Accurist, but in August the company announced it was ending its 22-year sponsorship.
The official voice of the Speaking Clock, Sara Mendes da Costa will step aside at the end of this week, having voiced the service since April last year after winning a competition.
She will be replaced by Tinker Bell, originally a character in Scottish author JM Barrie's 'Peter Pan', who has been given a voice for the first time by actress Mae Whitman.
It is a move that will undoubtedly annoy traditionalists, as well as the not inconsiderable number of who take a dim view of the "Disney-fication" of British culture.
The original pips have been in operation for more than 70 years, but call volumes have fallen from 250m a year two decades ago to 70m.
Last month, Accurist announced that it was planning to launch a rival service to BT's. It is building a website dubbed "British Real Time" which will feature thousands of members of the public telling the time to the nearest second.
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