Kid's programming is proving to be one section that is picking action. For UTV-floated United Home Entertainment, launching a kids' channel was taking advantage of the fact that the domain promises potential and lacks competition. The channel's intention to showcase 100 per cent Indian content separates it from existing players but what is increasingly interesting about the segment is that the players are very careful, even if it is just about naming the channel.
UTV's foray into kids' entertainment space is called Hungama TV based on the findings of an ACNielsen research. A sample of 3700 kids across seven metros and eight small cities were asked to take their pick from five names that meant 'fun'. Says Purnendu Bose, COO, UHE, "For us, research will be an ongoing process to study kids' media habits. Our programming will be based on what kids want."
The channel has gone a step ahead to make that point. It has decided to constitute a governing council that would comprise of children only. However, how does the channel's operating team propose to implement this decision? Bose replies, "This Board of Directors would operate typically like Directors. Based on research and our initiatives, we will present this body with a shortlist of options that would culminate in programming, packaging, marketing and merchandising decisions. They would give their final seal of approval on all these elements."
How viable does the channel think this idea is? "It is a kids' channel and this will make it exactly that - a media entity for, of and by the kids" says Bose. And is the channel going to stick by whatever these children decide? "We did that when it came to the channel's name and yes we will do it in the future as well. They can reject all our ideas and we will go back to the field to research and come up with more ideas."
The channel does intend to launch a nationwide hunt to zero down on its Board of Directors. However, various details on this front have to be yet confirmed. As per Bose, logistics for this plan will be in place by mid-April. Meanwhile, research activities for the channel to understand kids' media consumption continue.
To base content on research does seem to be the order of the day for kids' programming. POGO, even with its own differentiated positioning did exactly that. Hungama's decision to not just base its endeavours on research but approve them by a governing body like this implies that the players are very vigilant about the nature of the category's development.