The Nickelodeon franchise, comprising of Nick, Sonic and Nick Jr., is geared to tackle the summer boredom of kids across all age groups, with a strong line-up of programming replete with comedy, action and edutainment and interactive campaigns on-air, on-ground and online. Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP & Business Head, Kids Cluster, Viacom18 Media, talks about the genre, advertising in the genre, business and the monetization of the Nickelodeon franchise.
You have a kids’ movie planned during summers on all your channels. How are you planning to monetise it?
It gets monetised like any other property on TV through sponsors and advertisers.
Other channels in the genre feel that Kids genre is hugely underpriced. Don’t you think that affects your bottom line?
It is hugely underpriced. The correction will not happen unless all of us come together and say that we are not willing to succumb any more. We have however moved forward from where we were seven years ago. It (change in the valuation of channel) will be a slow process. While our viewership caters to 8-9 per cent at 4+ we are only 2 per cent of the advertising pie. Our advertisers generally have a perception that the TG in the Kids genre is a subset of what GECs give anyway. Therefore, the kids also consume GEC shows like ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’, ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’, etc. They are passive viewers of what households watch.
So which are the usual sectors which advertise on the Kids genre?
We have food and beverage brands which directly talk to kids like Boost, Horlicks, Complan, etc. We also have confectionaries like ITC, Cadbury. We also have Domino’s, McDonald’s, Rasna, etc. We also have non-children category of advertisers which have 10-15 per cent of the mix but they go up to 25 per cent contribution towards the total revenue in summers. Therefore one has FMCG, consumer durables, etc. Companies like Britannia, Kellogg, GSK, are our usual bread and butter. To a certain extent, insurance and auto players advertise on the Kids genre as well.
Do you see a surge in participation from sectors like e-commerce and auto, which some channels in your genre are keen on having?
No. While kids are tech savvy, they don’t have deep pockets. Kids though are in-house consultants in many decisions but I am not seeing any surge from sectors like e-commerce.
The key challenge for most of the channels is short attention span of kids. Is your content strategy devised keeping this aspect and mind and how do you execute it?
The attention span of kids is very short but in the end it depends on the quality of storytelling and how endearing is your character. Kids these days are very intelligent and get bored very easily. One needs to plan ad breaks carefully. Less ads or break free content at times keeps the interactivity going for kids. When we look at taking a break, we talk about elections of our characters. Kids know that elections are going on in the country these days; and they are able to connect. Therefore, in the end it is all about creating connections, showcasing scheduling of your programmes carefully, robust storytelling and endearing characters to hold the attention of kids. It seems easy, but there is a lot of math involved in scheduling shows for kids, taking ad breaks, ad free content, etc.
In the Kids genre, the top three channels take the bulk of viewership and ad pie. Do you think entry of more channels will fragment the audiences in the genre?
I don’t think there will be any fragmentation. We haven’t been in the top three since we lost our flagship show to Cartoon Network. But even after that we have grown our revenue year on year. The fact that there is a 12-minute cap and we are dropping 40 minutes of advertising every day, there is enough for everybody to take and the fact that we are still growing our revenue despite not being among top three is great. It also comes from a perspective on how advertisers need us.
Do you expect a surge in inventory prices as 10+2 is followed more across the genre?
It should. We generally get into long term deals. So all the deals we are signing have to ensure double digit growth for us. One has to put one’s foot down. We are delivering and we are not a niche channel or a category. After GECs and movies, we are the ones delivering most reach and TVTs and we want the right pricing for it.
You are investing a lot of money on marketing. How are you managing your ROI when advertisers undervalue the genre and as a result there is low value of money?
The franchise looks to generate revenue in more ways than one, leading to a healthy ROI. One way to do is to create assets over a period of time which have a shelf life of more than eight years and then market and monetise those. The other way that kid’s broadcasters are generating revenue is through their entire ecosystem, which includes consumer products, large format events such as theatricals and musicals, digital, apps, mobile offerings, etc., and find ancillary growth outside of TV.