Kids Channels are the flavours of Urban India | News

Kishore Sharma – Team
Kids Channels are the flavour of the season. Today, everybody is running after the estimated 30 million kids in ‘Urban India’. The reason: they are the main influence in buying anything, be it a plasma TV, the latest bike or a game.
However, one fact has become clear: the TV-viewing pattern of kids has changed drastically over the last few years. Media analysts opine that children’s programming has moved from animation and cartoons to a mix of live action programmes (Hungama Channel’s Hungama Fungama), documentaries, movies and game shows.
Says Nachiket Pantvaidya, Director, Programming and Production, Walt Disney Television International-India, “The ‘one size fits all’ myth in kid-oriented content no longer works and now we have specific segmented programming.”
However, Rohit Bhandari, the Singapore based marketing and sales director for Animaxx SPE Networks, says, “It is early days yet, in ascertaining what is a more successful formula: live action or animated content.”
Ian Diamond, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Turner Entertainment Networks, Asia, says that, in order to be successful, you need to know your audience. “We are investing in research of the media habits of the kids in India,” he says.
Turner International has had the first mover advantage in India, with its Cartoon Network, which was launched in India a decade ago. The network launched its second channel, Pogo, in 2004.
Nickelodeon, the second children’s channel, began telecasting in 1999 and has since relaunched itself as Nick in Hindi, after Cartoon Network started programming in Hindi in 2000.
Hema Govindan, GM, Nick India, says the channel had a three-pronged localisation strategy. “Firstly, we have dubbed the content in Hindi, Then we introduced J Bole Toh Jadoo, which has become a benchmark for co-production, and introduced the concept of taking a big Bollywood icon and making him the focus of India’s first live-action-cum-animation show. And, lastly, the localisation has paved the way for format reversions. For instance, Dum Duma Dum, is an Indian version of Double Dare.”
Talking about the future of children’s channels in India, Ronnie Screwalla, Group Chief Executive Officer of UTV, says, “In the next five years I expect, at least, 20 channels with exponential growth driven by pay TV, new awareness by advertisers on the unique strengths of this key consumer market.”
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