Face off: Our three channels give us an advantage in the ad cap regime, says Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Written by Anindita Sarkar | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 8 2014, 06:54am hrs
The kids entertainment category on television has seen viewership go up by 22% in the last one year even as newer channels have come up in the genre. Nina Elavia Jaipuria, executive vice president and business head, kids cluster, Viacom18 Media, believes that cable digitisation has played a big role in this. Digitisation has helped kids to find their favourite channels more easily even as there is a marked improvement in the transmission quality of the channels, which are driven by animation content. Digitisation has grown our subscription revenue in double digits. So, the business is looking better and we are able to reinvest in content, says Jaipuria. In a conversation with FE Brandwagons Anindita Sarkar, Jaipuria talks about the special advantages that the R350 crore kids genre can offer advertisers, the strategy behind Viacom18s three kids channels and how the

ad inventory cap is benefiting them. Edited excerpts:

How are the various kids channels in the Viacom18 network different from each other

The Nickelodeon franchise starts off almost at the zero age level with Nick Jr. which is watched by pre-schoolers along with their young parents. We then have two differentiated productsNick and Sonicthat target children four years and above.

Nick is essentially about fun, positivity and a lot of humour for children. It is a place where funny rules. On the other hand, Sonic is a completely differentiated product which talks to the same target group but through action and adventure. We realised that a whole lot of action was being consumed outside of television (read video games, Bollywood). But there was no TV channel that was delivering that action and thats when we decided to launch Sonic.

Meanwhile, we also realised that teenagers are finding their own choices even outside of television and their social media networks. They are consuming a lot of sitcoms and live action over the internet. And thats why TeenNick comesa block on Nick Junior which starts at 7 pm.

But the franchise does not just

comprise of television anymore. Whether it is to do with digital, consumer products or on-ground activities, we are trying to create growth in ancillary revenues through various streams.

Do we really need such micro-segmentation

All the three channels have a purpose to serve. For instance, we know that Nick Junior is not going to be a ratings channel. But it will help the network to build an ecosystem to create a consumer products base and push ancillary growth. For example, animated character Dora today is larger than life outside the channel than she is on the channel.

Sonic, on the other hand, is a digital channel which will grow as digitisation happens. The channel has just got on the Tata Sky platform and with this, we have kind of finished our distribution in the digitised market. Now its time to create enough awareness and brand building for the channel. Once that is done, it is always easy to build reach. The channels reach has grown from 8% to 11% organically wherein we have not done any marketing beyond the channel yet. Meanwhile, Nick, is a ratings driven channel, which started with a 13% reach and today has 36-40% reach.

Is it not difficult to grow ad volumes within such multiple platforms given that kids as a genre is still a niche category

First of all, kids as a genre is not a niche category anymore. After general entertainment channels (GECs) and movies, we are the largest category in the pie. We contribute about 9% of the total viewership at the 4+ years age bracket. This is larger than news, sports and music. So, from a category perspective, I believe that we deliver TVT (television viewership in thousands) numbers that nobody else can match. Today, the 4-14 age group comprise 30% of our population. Therefore, from an advertisers and manufacturers perspective, kids products are here to stay.

The segmentation has only helped us to provide more inventory, which means more revenue. If Nick was alone, we would have just 12 minutes as per the ad inventory cap. Today, we have 24 minutes because we have Sonic.

How has cable digitisation and change in audience measurement from TVRs (television viewership ratings) to TVTs helped the kids genre

Digitisation has helped kids to navigate. Today, kids can find us much easily than they could ever before. Meanwhile, there is a huge improvement in the transmission quality of the channels, which is specially visible in this category as its driven by animation. Digitisation has also given us a platform as far as distribution is concerned. It has also grown our subscription revenue in double digits. So, the business is looking better and we are able to reinvest in content.

The TVR-to-TVT change is a battle that should have been played out a long time ago. We have never really talked about the number of people that we cater to year after year and the increase in that. This is because the TVR piece or the GRP piece would always undermine that number. People are finally recognising the fact that there are a lot of kids on any given channel within the category channel and the size is huge. Not to forget, the LC1 markets are now contributing about 13% to the category.

Do you think that kids as a genre is still not a priority for advertisers

We deliver such a large audience to advertisers, an audience which has so much influence on all family decisions; they are almost in-house consultants. But advertisers dont see the merit in talking to children and if they do, they really discount us. While we deliver 9% of viewership, we only have 2% of the advertising pie. But there will come a time, when this will have to change. This is because now not only is the genre growing year on year, but there is also an inventory cap that we need to take care of.