Indian content, global lure

Updated: Mar 26 2006, 05:30am hrs
In 2004 there was an unprecedented action on kids international TV channels, and several players entered the segment. In 2006, Indian programming is increasingly finding prominence on these channels. While live action has been the key component of some channels, the growth in local animation is a positive indication about the growth of kids TV in India.

Cartoon Network started off by aquiring local animations and today the channel has Indian animation shows like Ramayan The Legend of Prince Ram, Vikram Betaal, Adventures of Tenali Raman, Chhota Birbal, and Akbar & Birbal. Says Anshuman Mishra, managing director, Turner International, Our content planning is based on not only on content made only for India, but also content that works in India. Popular shows like M.A.D and Bam! Bam! Bam! Gir Pade Hum on Pogo and Vikram Betaal and Adventures of Tenali Raman on Cartoon were made in India for the Indian market.We usually give the script an Indian context and an environment it can adapt itself into. Sometimes, we tweak it without interfering with the DNA of the show.

Nick ventured into Indian programming when it launched J Bole Toh Jadoo soon after it went Hindi in 2004. The show is still one of the deliverers for the channel. J Bole Toh Jadoo is our first (and the first) locally produced live action-cum-animation show in the Indian market. It continues to be among our top five shows every week and has done wonders for building our brand. Our locally produced gameshow Dum Duma Dum too rates among our top shows. Weve just started airing Gili Gili Gappa since March 15, says Hema Govindan, managing director, Nick.

Indian programming is a significant part of Disneys content as well. Nachiket Pantvaidya, director, programming, Walt Disney TV International, says, We are planning lots of Indian shows and have acquired the satellite rights for Hanuman which we will air soon. We also air Karishma Ka Karishma on Disney Channel. Toon Disney, our 24-hour channel, went Hindi in September 2005 and the channel has grown five times since. We are also considering the possibility of making our own shows in the near future.

Hungama TV, the made in India channel, has used programming with Indian content. The kiddie channel offers viewers a mix of local and international entertainment. We have the highest ratio of original content compared to any other channel targeted at the 4-14-year age group. We have shows like Sanya, Hero, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Gol Gol Gullam and Full Toss and we plan to keep the ratio of local content high, says Zarina Mehta, COO, Hungama TV.

Localisation also gets channel the numbers. Dubbing is one of the elements in making our channels successful. In the coming months, there will be more local content: Akbar & Birbal (produced by Pune-based Phoebus Creations), animated titles Son of Alladin and The Legend of Buddha (produced by Chennai-based Pentamedia Graphics). Cartoon will acquire five more Indian animations by 2007, adds Mishra. Hungamas Mehta chips in: It is imperative to talk to kids in their language. Kids channels have not only gone all Hindi, but they also have regional feeds in relevant markets.

As long they get eyeballs, kiddie channels will opt for the desi flavour.