Cartoon Network, the pioneer in kids' television in India, has reaffirmed its commitment to showcase Indian animation on the Network. To this effect, the channel has announced acquisition of three brand new Indian animation productions.
Vishnu Athreya, Senior Programming Manager, Cartoon Network India, said, "Since the time we started heavily concentrating on the localisation aspect, we've had 10 productions in the last one year and we have gone towards pushing the envelope in terms of local production. At one level, we are extremely happy about the way we have moved in terms actually making these shows and features extremely popular amongst kids."
"At the other level, these shows are actually extremely popular even in terms of numbers. 'Legend of Prince Ram' in the week of Diwali it did higher than any Hindi feature in all India audience. This effectively means that as entertainment option, Indian animation is really popular and as an entertainment option, Cartoon Network is also as popular as general entertainment with movies and programmes like these. With this, it was only inevitable that we moved forward. We have kind of further innovated in our strategy and in 2006 we are actually looking at many more home-grown acquisitions to promote on the network," he added.
The new acquisitions include 'Akbar and Birbal' (in 2D format), a 13-part series by Phoebus Creations, Pune, and two big theatricals from Pentamedia, 'The Legend of Buddha' ( 2D animation) and 'Son of Alladin' (in 3D). The addition of these three new Indian animation acquisitions take the tally of total Indian animations on Cartoon Network to 12 home grown products. 'Akbar and Birbal' will see its premiere on Cartoon Network on January 15 and will be aired every Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:30 am.
With positioning the new show on Sunday, the channel intends to offer family viewing experience and involve the higher age group population in sampling the show. Athreya added, "We are also looking at acquiring six to eight Indian animation productions in 2006-07. A minimum of four will be launched in 2006 and the balance in 2007."
Cartoon Network India, in fact, was the first international kids' channel to acquire locally produced programming like 'Pandavas – The Five Warriors', 'Sinbad – Beyond The Veil of Mists', 'Ramayan – The Legend of Prince Ram', 'The Adventures of Tenali Raman', 'The Adventures of Chhota Birbal', and 'Vikram Betaal'.
"Being at the forefront of kids' television in India, Cartoon Network is also actively exploring avenues of creative development of Indian animation products, where the Network will lend its expertise on what works with Indian kids by collaborating with partner studios from the conceptual stage to the final product. Extending the Network's role beyond just showcasing Indian animation, we hope to leverage our in-depth knowledge and understanding of Indian kids and their needs while developing content that works," Athreya said.