Many in the industry might be of the impression that it’s too late for children’s channel Nick to pose any competition to other players in the category. The channel however, is set to make it otherwise. With new people, new shows and a new campaign lined up, for Nick it’s showtime.
Nick has appointed Sonia Choudhary as Head of Programming. Choudhary earlier was working on various projected for BBC. An old hand with the channel, Venu Gopal has been assigned the marketing responsibilities. There’s more. B4U’s Sameer Mazgaonkar has been roped in as Head – Ad Sales. With the team in place, Pradeep Hejmadi is at the helm of affairs as Director, Business and Operations.
The action had begun in May 2004, when the channel had decided to go Hindi and change its name from Nickelodeon to Nick. Subsequent advertising was also done with actor Saif Ali Khan. In following period Nick’s ratings did show an upward trend, following weeks meant a dip again.
Explaining more on what do the numbers imply for Nick, Hejmadi says, “In the June to September period, we have invested substantially in research and other activities, the results of which, will be seen on the channel more in days to come. The very fact that one advertisement along with a few changes, can rope in more eyeballs means that there is scope to get more with the right kind of programming and advertising and we have plans on both counts.”
Another aspect that he shares is that even though the numbers show a dip, they are not as low as they were in May. Also, the mix of kid viewers has changed. While earlier it was the SEC A, age group 10–14 that the channel was cutting with, now the lower SECs and the younger kids are also coming on board.
Focussing on the advertising strategy, the channel has released a campaign today with Hrithik Roshan as the channel’s face. The multi-media campaign would be carried out across channels, there would be radio spots and would also be in print like school magazines alongside the outdoor component as well. This campaign would be for the new property that the channel has planned – ‘J Bole to Jaadoo’. The show goes on air on November 14 and is a co-production between Nick and Graffiti.
Looking closely at programming aspects, one would notice substantial changes ever since the channel went desi. The Hindi programming is on from 6 am to 9.30 pm everyday. Among the blocks that are already in place, soon there would be shows like Nick Junior, Nick Nashta, Hello Girls, Nick GAS (Games and Sports) and a comedy block Nick Ha Ha Ha. On weekends the channel airs movies.
Sharing the rationale behind the programming, Hejmadi gives a few examples, “We are living a day in every child’s life and it is important for the channel to understand and behave correspondingly. An example is in Nick Nashta. For any kid, breakfast time is absolute misery when he has to wake up. This show captures and exudes that emotion.”
He explains that in the case of Hello Girls, which is placed at the daily 4 pm block, where competition has a boy-centred show. Counter programming of this kind is expected to fetch more numbers. The channel has a 2 pm to 4 pm animation block. In these new shows like Journey of Alan Strange would be seen soon.
As Hejmadi puts it, kids space is challenging in the sense that kids have a sense of their own. Being receptive, they are easy to get and easier to lose. Numbers show that new channels coming in this segment didn’t mean that the leader was losing share, as much as it showed an increase in the pie. There is space and it is developing. All said, for television in India, this is a positive sign.