Whats in store for kids this summer

Written by Sagorika Dasgupta | Updated: May 31 2009, 06:43am hrs
Multiplex strikes dont matter at least for children for whom kids channels have a plethora of new shows lined up. With channels such as Cartoon Network (CN), Pogo, Nick, Disney, Hungama, Spacetoon and Jetix airing specialised kids content in the country, the competition between kids channels to grab a larger chunk of viewership is fierce. And these kids channels have resorted to launching new shows and merchandise as well as abundant marketing activities to attract viewership during the holiday months.

High on animation

For CN, the key areas of focus this season are animation shows. CN and POGO presented a strong line up with the premier of nine new home-grown animated titles. While CNs line up included shows like Ghatothkach, Prahlad, Siva, Dashavatar and My Friend Ganesha 2, POGO will feature Hanuman, Return of Hanuman, Ravan Mahayodhya and Veer Yodhya Prithviraj Chauhan.

Viacom 18s kids channel Nick will also be focusing on strengthening its popular animated characters like Ninja Hattodi. This month the channel forayed into local animation by collaborating with Reliance BIG Entertainments animation wing, BIG animation for its 13 episode series Little Krishna. Spellz was another daily show that was launched this month and myths about magic and teaches kids to perform magic tricks.

POGO plans to focus not just on its strong movie titles but also launched the new season of its art and music show MAD. According to an analyst, POGO attracts 35% of eyeballs in the age group of 15 years and above. A newer entrant among the plethora of channels, Spacetoon also launched eight new shows, include Sonic the Hedgehog, Kittys Paradise and Offside this season. Spactoon Kids TV claimed to penetrate almost 16 million homes since its launch in January this year, and experienced a rise in viewership by almost 20% to 25% this summer.

Holiday bonanza

Rajiv Sangari, MD and CEO, Spacetoon, South Asia says, April, May and June are the months when most of the kids prefer watching TV. Thus, these summer months are mainly when most TV channels tap the kids market to the fullest. The most important time bands where viewership escalates are between 10 am and 6 pm. Some media agencies believe that the viewership of kids channels start dipping from 5.30 pm onwards and thus the rate of ad spots time band post 6 pm is usually lower than the prime time.

Nick carried out a 360 degree summer campaign called The Big Ninja Fan, which was rolled out across India all through May across 50 cities. The campaign was influential in drawing attention towards its summer line up of shows. Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Nick India says, It is important to combine appealing content with engaging on-ground activities. A strong outdoor promotion and activation, translates into content becoming stickier and thus getting kids back on the channel.

Share in the pie

As far as channel shares are concerned, through the entire year of 2007 and 2008, CN and POGO continued to rule as the number one and number two channels. The combined share of CN and POGO in 2007 was 44% and 45% in 2008. The share of CN and POGO in the top 100 transmissions went up from 99% in 2007 to 100% in 2008.

According to television rating agency TAM, for week 17, Nick accounted for 9 out of top 10 rated kids programmes, which include shows such Ninja Hattori and Perman. Spacetoon maintained a channel share of 0.3% in week 16 and week 17. However, Nicks growth has mainly come from the time spent from 144 minutes to 175 minutes on week 16.

Since there are a host of kids channels that are already dishing out animation and live action shows, most channels rely on heavy marketing to acquire a slice of the shrinking advertising pie in this genre. Timmy Kandhari, Executive Director and Leader entertainment and media practice, PriceWaterhouse Coopers India feels, This year ad spends on TV are fairly less compared to last year. The summer is ideally the best time for categories like FMCG products to advertise on kids channels as the viewership of these channels during the vacations ensure better return on investment. Besides, a kids channel also benefits a lot from merchandising and licensing. Indian licensing and merchandising market is currently estimated at Rs 1,800 crore, with kids licensed merchandise market estimated at Rs 500 crore.

The merchandising industry is poised to grow at around 15% to 20% per annum for the next three years. According to a media planner, increasing number of TV channels, greater accessibility to internet, proliferation of mobile devices and increasing popularity of mobile, video and computer games offers huge potential for the animation and character licensing in India.

During the summer months, merchandising and sales of licensed products also increases. Sangari mentions, The recent entry of TV entertainment into the licensing and merchandising market and has opened up the market and created more opportunities for organised retailing in the country. This time around, kids will hold the remote control close to their chest than ever!