In its endeavour to aim for an August–September launch, Hungama TV is crystallising resources on all fronts. Not only are the people in place, programmes and the marketing activities have rolled out too. Purnendu Bose, COO, Hungama TV, expresses that all efforts are directed to achieve one aim – redefine kids’ entertainment.
On its people front, the channel has Vice President, Programming, in Shalini Rawla, who comes with an advertising background. Rajeev Chakrabarti, Head of Marketing, is from broadcasting but as per Bose, Hungama made sure that he got rid of his ‘relevant experience’. The responsibility of ad sales is handled by Niloufer Dundh who has a radio background. Soumen Ghosh is VP operations and technical, and Kevin Pariera, who heads distribution, has a sports background.
Hungama TV follows a strategy of conducting research including children and then bases its decisions on the findings of the research. The channel has recently launched the ‘Hungama Captain Hunt’, which will give it a kids’ panel, who as per the channel will be included in all channel related decisions.
“This would identify with the kids,” explains Bose, “Children are familiar with school captains, house captains and this title would be a matter of pride not only for the child but also for the school. We already have huge response from children, parents, school principals and even sponsors.”
Hungama has correspondingly rolled out the school contact programme where over 5.5 lakh application forms are distributed in 500 schools across 10 cities encouraging participation of kids from the core target of 8-14 yrs. This would be followed with audition rounds in key cities culminating into a finale in Mumbai.
Throwing more light on the programming strategy, Bose explains that breaking a day for specific segment of the kids' audience is an outdated way of operating. “That's the conventional way. We are not looking at a ‘stage’ in their life but a ‘day’ in their life. The idea is to offer programming that becomes a relevant daypart in their TV viewing habits. Hence a weekday is different from Saturday, which is different from a Sunday,” he says.
As he puts it, the decision to offer programming beyond animation is taken only after a comprehensive research. “The programming is multi-genre, covering a spectrum as wide as comedy, drama, fantasy, adventure, thriller, game shows, movies, musicals - everything that entertains a child. We started with 274 concepts, we narrowed down to 60 pilots and we obviously would be placing the top 20-25 shows in our FPC,” says Bose.
The channel plans a nationwide research and the top five programmes that would came up in that would be treated as the channel drivers. Bose also explains that children are likely to get bored with too much repetition: “Coupled with the fact that they have shorter attention spans, we have to keep them constantly engaged. We will have more than eight hours of original programming everyday.”