Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India is gearing up to launch the children’s channel from its parent’s portfolio —Animax, making 2004 a busy year of kids’ channel launches.
First, the Cartoon Network launched ‘Pogo’ on January 1. It was soon followed by UTV which launched ‘Hungama’. The Disney Channel is also believed to be readying itself to launch ‘Little Big Mouse’ this year. Till last year, this segment was addressed primarily by two channels — Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
The third channel was Splash. Kunal Dasgupta, chief executive officer of SET India, told : “While we have added Nickelodeon to the Sony-Discovery bouquet, we are also planning to bring Animax to India. We would announce it shortly.
“Kids’ channel offers a huge untapped business potential. Advertisers have recognised that children play a key role in household purchase decision-making,” said a senior industry official.
The industry players are betting big on their plans to start kids’ channel. Industry operators point out that while the UK has 20 channels to cater to 11 million kids, the US airs 306 shows per week for 61 million children across 17 networks.
In contrast, India till recently did not have any localised channel for its 315 million kids, who represent one-third of the country’s population under the age of 15 years. The 44 million cable and satellite homes in India offer an addressable audience of over 47 million.