New look seems to be the in-thing. And for Hungama TV it is just about the right time, given the fact that the Made in India kids’ channel has completed a year. Marking the celebrations, the channel has shed its yellow and donned blue in a completely new look that it unveiled October 30, 2005.
The year for Hungama TV has been a joy ride with the channel growing steadily in numbers, despite the stiff competition from Disney, the leader in the sector, Cartoon Network, and second player POGO. The channel’s programming head, Zarina Mehta, said that even as the channel has been on an upward swing, there was a need to bring in changes at various levels to ensure the growth graph was in the right direction.
“The image of the channel is very important,” said Mehta. “By image, I mean what it offers, and what it is seen as. Our proposition of a ‘Made in India’ channel with completely local programming is perhaps the main reason why despite having global competitors, we have held our own. There are various aspects of the channel which we were fine with at the time of the launch as we needed to establish the brand, but now when that is done, these can be changed to broadbase the channel and bring in more growth.”
In addition to the programming changes that have been gradually introduced on the channel, she explained that given the feedback in regard to the look, the channel felt a need for a change there as well. She said, “The response we received was that the look stopped at the eight-year-olds, whereas our TG is 4-14, so we thought we should introduce some high energy.”
In the process the channel has changed the logo to a blue figure, internally called ‘whirly’. The packaging, station ids and everything else around the brand have been changed and a consequent market exercise has also begun around the new look. The change was accompanied by the channel’s new band ‘Hungama Fungama’ and the idea is ‘empowering children’. “This has been our philosophy in any case,” said Mehta. “Even the name of the channel has been chosen by children. By this segment we are bringing interactivity on the channel and we are speaking to today’s children – the kind of pocket money they get, how they spend it, style check, latest in toys and technology, a write-in segment for problems – really concentrating on the children.”
The segments ‘Apna Point of View’, ‘Problemo’, ‘Teck Shek’, ‘Books, Music and Movie Reviews’ and ‘Cook works’ will be interspersed with international properties like the German show ‘Tele Matches’, ‘Worlds Funniest Videos’, and the silent Russian series of gags, ‘Maski’.
“These are all fun and madness shows, high on energy and completely in sync without changing the brand image,” said Mehta. She further informed that the channel has done away with movies and will only be looking at kid-oriented shows. “For launch, movies are a great vehicle but we have grown now – from April alone our growth has been 118 per cent; it is time to look at more evolved and newer ways of entertaining children.”
The channel also has plans to develop the new logo ‘Whirly’ into a character and then extend it to merchandising. “We are intent on making Hungama a touch and feel brand,” Mehta explained. “We are beginning this already with international shows but the idea is to also bring home grown brands and ‘Whirly’ is first on the cards. The channel has a 360-degree approach in any case with our on-ground events like Hungamathon and Captain’s Hunt. You can also download the Gol Gol Ghulam game on your mobile, which gives us presence in the digital space as well. In all, we have identified different avenues from where growth can come for the channel and we are exploiting these. So far, it is all paying off.”
New looks might not have been a reason for new audiences to come on any channel in the past, but it has its role to play in retaining eyeballs and keeping a channel fresh. Hungama TV is looking at different platforms for growth which, when compared to other kids’ channels, has allowed variety in the domain.
When channels like Cartoon Network claimed at the time new children’s channels were coming in that there was space for many players in the field, they were not kidding.