The kid’s genre accounts for 7.3% of the viewership share in 2014 which has made it the largest genre after the Hindi GECs and Hindi movie genre according to the FICCI-KPMG report. However, the kids genre continues to be under-indexed accounting for only 3.8% of AdEx in 2014 which was down from 4.2% in 2013 the report said. Though by the end of this financial year players such as Nickelodeon had seen a slight correction in the under-indexing problem as they saw a 33% growth in ad revenues which was mainly on the back of a correction in ad rates of almost 25-30%. While the under-indexation problem takes time to solve, the genre has learned to depend on other means of increasing the revenue base.
One of it is through brand integration and rather than depending on conventional 30 second TVC spots. This could be in the form of in-show integrations to on-ground integrations. While it gives brands the opportunity to get more time to establish a connection with the consumers, at the same time channels also get added revenues. Though this part of the business is still at a nascent stage it still accounts for around 10% of revenues for some kids channels. This is apart from the other growing business for the kids genre - the licensing and merchandising industry which is expected to be around Rs.3,500 crore and contribute about 10-15% of the revenues for some.
On Nickelodeon in-show integrations are of the brands GSK Horlicks and Pratap Snacks Yellow Diamond Rings with the show Motu Patlu. While Cartoon Network and Pogo had even created a 4-part mini-series with Kellogg’s mascot Coco called Coco aur Chhota Bheem ka Dhamaal. Similarly, the animated film Sholay Adventures on Pogo had integrated brands Centre Fruit and Jungle Magic in it. There are also on-ground integrations with brands for instance Nickelodeon has had school contact programmes, van activations linked to tent-pole properties like Agrotech ACT II, Dabur, GSK Horlicks, Ranbaxy where they conduct sampling, customized games, give away merchandise and hold meet and greets school contact programmes. Kids channels also have customised properties for brand integration on-air and on-ground such as Horlicks summer carnival and Max Life Insurance I Genius by Nickelodeon.
Nina Jaipuria, EVP and Business Head – Kids Cluster, Viacom 18 says, “Such brand solutions integrations have helped us offer value to advertisers outside the regular 30 sec spot. Brand Integrations are a win-win for all the stake holders including channel, advertisers and the viewers.
They contribute approximately 9-10 % to the channels revenues and has great potential to grow.” She further adds that the market size for brand integrations is still nascent but poised for significant growth. “We are seeing an increasing demand for brand integrations and non FCT (free commercial time) customizations given that advertisers have now understood the ability of such integrations to drive affinity for their brand amongst audiences,” she said.
Juhi Ravindranath, VP, South Asia, Turner International India says, “The demand for brand integrations has always been there. While the majority of revenues will always be through selling of airtime, we’re seeing a consistent growth in revenues through integrations.”
Advertisers are willing to pay a lot for brand integrations and branded content on TV channels. Brand integrations are expected to cost anywhere between Rs.10 lakh to Rs.10 crore depending on the level of the integration and the channel according to some media reports. This is comparison of ad rates which range from Rs.150 to Rs.1,700 for 10-second spots on kids channels. Though this could be higher for some kids genre channels due to the increase in the rates, yet it is far low than that which could be earned through one such brand integration.
While brand categories such as FMCG, confectionary, kid’s snacks and stationary are some of the brands that look for brand integrations, there are other non-traditional advertisers on kids channels that are trying to get through to kid’s to use them as influencers in adult decision making. “While advertisers directly targeting kids are more likely for such integrations, we have enough examples of non-traditional advertisers like Honda, Godrej, ICICI Prudential, Canon, Dell, Panasonic and many others that are showing increasing interest,” says Ravindranath.
Though the interest is high among brands for such integrations there are certain challenges that are faced by kid’s channels. One being the longer production pipeline for brands that look for in-show brand integration and hence need to be planned by the brand well in advance. “Animation has a longer production pipeline and hence it requires advance planning this limiting the scope and making integrations challenging,” says Jaipuria. Depending on the scope of integrations, it can run into 6 months in some cases adds Ravindranath.
Another challenge Jaipuria says is the money brands allocate for brand integrations. “While most advertisers have recognized the potential of brand integrations to cut through the clutter, some advertisers are yet to commit costs for such integrations and fully capitalize on its true potential,” she says.
Ravindranath also points out that there is a challenge is to find a seamless integration between the clients’ brand or messaging with their content without it appearing obtrusive or forced. “Being a kid’s brand there is an additional sense of responsibility to our audiences,” she said.
Besides these challenges brand integrations are becoming a popular way for brands to promote themselves especially in the kid’s genre channels and considering the ad cap restrictions and under-indexation issues troubling the genre this method of promotion is expected to contribute a lot more to the channels.