Experiments seem to be a regular dose from Turner Entertainment Networks Asia and the organisation manages to throw one occasionally. POGO, with its kind of programming, was an experiment for the Indian market, the live action original shows coming from the channel was another set of experiments, and now continuing in that league, the channel is all set to launch ‘It’s Alive’ – a half hour comedy show that goes on-air from May 21, 2006.
Orion Ross, Head of Creative Services and Original Productions, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia (TENA Inc), explained that shows like ‘M.A.D’ (Music-Art-Dance), ‘Bam, Bam, Bam, Gir Pade Hum’, ‘Prime Pogo’ and Pogo Amazing Kids Awards (2004 and 2005) were vindications of the channel’s faith in live action, original Indian programming.
Continuing the strategy, the channel is set to launch ‘It’s Alive!’, which comes in the Sunday 11.00 am block. The show has 13 episodes, and has been produced in-house. Another set of similar initiative is from the much spoken about ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’, the Indian version of ‘Sesame Street’, which is scheduled to launch mid-August.
Present properties on the channel will also see substantial push with various activities planned around the third edition of Pogo Amazing Kids Awards. The channel has designed a 13-week plan in the run up to the grand finale. The show itself will see a change in format with the emphasis being on kids. Ross informed that 60 kids across 10 categories would be profiled and capsules around them would be aired every week, towards the last two weeks before the awards. In addition to this and new seasons of shows like ‘M.A.D.’, new initiatives dominate the summers at POGO.
Taking the conversation forward, Ross also emphasised on the focus that the channel had planned on animation this year. POGO is actively looking at ideas coming from Indian production houses and developing them in-house than just outsourcing content. “That would be yet another differentiator,” said Ross.
Expressing his belief that programming was a strictly ideas-driven business, Ross candidly stated that the channel was looking at more shows in all kind of formats. He said, “We want shows that are creative driven in their core. To quote an example – the likes of William Hanna and Joe Barbara put an element of themselves when characters Tom and Jerry were created, and that is how long living content will manifest – from the creative vision. We are looking at these kinds of initiatives.”
The channel’s new initiatives are directed at the kid TG (4-14 age group) completely and with initiatives like ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’, the pre-schoolers see some more attention. Ross added, “We are very happy to be on the forefront in addressing Indian kids and that both Cartoon Network and POGO are the top two channels in the country. That said, competition is good for any business and we are just looking at continuing to understand Indian kids and keep delivering our best.”