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Entertaining kids: No child’s play

As viewership of children’s programmes on the small screen drops, OTT platforms and channels scout for ways to prop up spot rates

Children in the age two- to 14-year age group account for the highest share of viewership amongst all age groups—almost 20% of all TV impressions, according to BARC.
Children in the age two- to 14-year age group account for the highest share of viewership amongst all age groups—almost 20% of all TV impressions, according to BARC.

If TV channels and OTTs targetted at children saw a two-fold jump in viewership during the Covid-19 pandemic, TV is fast losing its pint-sized viewers with schools reopening. Mansi Datta, chief client officer and office head, north and east, Wavemaker India, says viewership on TV has seen a 15%-20% drop compared to last year.

Children in the age two- to 14-year age group account for the highest share of viewership amongst all age groups—almost 20% of all TV impressions, according to BARC.

Vinita Pachisia, senior vice-president, Carat India, says that children’s channels especially need to watch out for competition from the digital platforms and keep the buzz alive with more innovative content. Pre-pandemic, the average GRPs (gross rating point) on children’s channels hovered around 550. During the first lockdown in 2020, it went up to 650-700 GRP and the same trajectory continued last year till the end of Q1. Then on, it started tapering off.

Currently, says Leena Lele Dutta, EVP and business head, Sony YAY!, children’s channels’ viewership is pretty much back to pre-Covid levels. Sony YAY! is confident of closing this year at 550 GRP with special programming for the Hindi heartland, new seasons of hit shows, and freshly dubbed Japanese anime. Dutta adds, “We aim to launch new IPs and the focus will be on dubbing international shows into regional languages, and on anime to drive the growth.” In terms of vernacular content, it already has programmes in eight languages.

Launched during the pandemic, Hungama Kids claims it has seen more consistent growth in subscriber numbers over the past few months than when schools were online. The subscription-driven OTT platform caters to children up to 18 years of age. Talking about its content strategy, Soumini Sridhara Paul, senior vice-president, Hungama Digital Media, says, “The aim is to enable children to go beyond their books and still be in the realm of education.”

Inflow of ad revenues

According to the industry reports, a ten-second ad spot on the Hindi GEC channel varies from 2,000 up to a few lakhs of rupees for prime properties, whereas for children’s channels, it hovers around3,000 and varies with the time band and is directly proportional to the reach.

That said, since Diwali last year, advertising volumes have gone up and despite schools reopening, viewership has been buoyant. “We have got new brands on board including new-age and the traditional FMCGs. Also, we have more than tripled our ad rates in the last three years,” she shares.

Experts say there is an increase in ad spend across the board, with newer categories such as edtech giving it a leg-up. FMCG also accounts for a large portion of inventory consumption on children’s channels as the genre targets not only them but their parents, too.

Read Also: Seasonality and sports apps: What it means for mobile marketers in 2022

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