The action never ends for kids channels and Diwali has turned out to be an excuse to do a lot more for the little viewers. Almost every channel has planned a blast and children are spoilt for choices this Diwali ranging from blockbuster movies to new programmes and a lot of magic and even some cool merchandising.
The leader in the space, Cartoon Network, and the second player, POGO, have placed their bets on movies. The festive season began October 24 and Cartoon Network has injected a Diwali Dhoom block concentrated on animated features to celebrate Diwali, which include seven animated feature films and two Indian features including Balto, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, Titan A.E, Alvin & The Chipmunks Meet Wolfman, Acceleracers: Breaking Point, Justice League Unlimited: The Movie, Thumbelina, Ramayan The Legend of Prince Ram and Vikram Betal.
The channel is excited with the line-up and is equally thrilled with the line-up for sister channel POGO. POGO will celebrate the festive season with its special Diwali Jadoo Mantar programming block commencing October 27, showcasing five mega Hollywood kid blockbusters, including Babys Day Out, Home Alone, Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone, and Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets among others, daily at 2 pm.
Whilst Cartoon Network has completed 10 years with the Indian kids, the one-year old Hungama TV has also planned a bouquet of programmes for kids and has brought in interactivity on the show in a big way.
The new show that went online from October 23, Pick Me, is an animated show for preschoolers where parents can send pictures of their children, which are used as characters on the show. Every week, we will have a boy and girl star in the show, said the channels, programming head, Zarina Mehta.
On October 30, the channel is launching a special Sunday band called Hungama Fungama, the marketing of which begins from October 27. The two-and-a-half hour band is placed in the morning 10.00 am slot and is again an interactive show.
It will be interspersed with fun and laughter things, that the whole family can watch, said Mehta, adding, Another property coming in the Diwali season is a Japanese amine show Yu Gi Oh!. We are venturing into merchandising also with this show.
This will mark Hungama TVs presence in the consumer products space, which, otherwise, has players like Disney and recently, even Cartoon Network in it. Another Diwali launch for the channel is the fiction show, Sanya, which, too, is an interactive show, where the audience can take the story forward. On the entire line-up, Mehta said, It is our first Diwali after completing a year with our viewers and we are going all out.
Where Hungama TV has planned a host of show, Disney, too, is capitalising on its movie bank for Diwali and has unleashed the Sabse Bada Film Festival amongst other initiatives. The Sabse Bada Film Festival ushers in the festive season on Disney, said Tushar Shah, Director, Marketing and Communications, Walt Disney Television International (India).
We wanted to give our viewers something that would not only meet their expectations but would delight them. The question was could we create something that is larger than life and the answer was in the best animation movies that we have. Holidays began October 24 and from then on, we are showcasing two movies every day and that is 10 movies in a week. It doesnt get better than this, he added.
For Disney what was important was also the marketing of this festival. Apart from the 360-degree campaign that the channel has put in place, where it has even taken spots on channels like STAR Plus and STAR One, there also is a lot of activity done around the trade.
The media plan was designed with the objective of maximising reach and being present even on shows that arent meant for kids but claim a substantial kid audience, said Shah.
The Sabse Bada Film Festival is on till October 28, 2005 and comprises movies like Jungle Book, Aladdin & the King of Thieves, Tarzan, Pocahontas, Atlantis, Return of Jaffar, Lilo & Stitch, Mulan, Lion King 2 and Lion King 3.
While this is one of the key initiatives for Diwali, the channel has more plans. Studio Disney, a celebrity chat show hosted by three kids Zain, Payal and Devika unleashes the biggest stars in a two-hour marathon Diwali special on the October 31. There will be performances by Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, Amit Sana, Aasma and Tusshar Kapoor.
Despite the fact that Nick and Animax havent really focussed on Diwali all that much, kids still have loads to look forward to.