After achieving immense success with other home-grown toons such as ‘Motu Patlu’, ‘Pakdam Pakdai’ and ‘Shiva’, Nickelodeon gets ready for its fourth series called ‘Gattu Battu’, a detective action comedy show. Starting May 1, the channel is looking at expanding its content by trying out a new genre. Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head – Kids Entertainment, Viacom18, says, “We haven’t tapped into this genre before. With 32 million kids on the platform, we have a good reach and (are) robust enough to launch new show.”
She explains further why she’s taking a risk with ‘Gattu Battu,’ adding, “With more and more dependence on local content now, it only makes sense for us to analyse those gaps. Investigative has not been done before as a genre. We continue to look at newer genres as we go forward. It’s pioneering but also risky. It’s a risk we are taking again with ‘Gattu Battu.’”
She is already working on fifth IP, scheduled for next year.
The network has planned an expansive marketing campaign for the channel launch with an extensive cross channel plan, large scale on-ground, ambient engagement and on-line interactivity. Adding to this will be the on-ground initiatives like retail and mall partnerships (Phoenix, Ambience, Viviana etc), multi city promotions and more. The channel has associated with McDonald’s to air the show promos across 300 screens. Gattu Battu themed games, van activations in Tier-2 cities and meet-and-greets at various gaming zones such as Funcity will introduce the duo as well as allow kids to engage with the characters.
Upward growth trajectory
Moving ahead, Jaipuria mentions Nickelodeon has been the undisputed number one channel since August 2014. “We have been growing from strength to strength. When it comes to market share Nickelodeon is the market leader constituting 19 per cent while Sonic constitutes 10 per cent. Our network overall (Nickelodeon, Sonic and Nick JR) constitutes 31 per cent.”
Disney network with its four channels (Disney, Hungama, Disney XD and Disney JR) contributes 33 per cent.
The growth is reflected in their profits as well with 2016 being an extremely profitable year for Viacom18’s kid cluster. The business head adds, “It’s the fourth year in a row where we are a very profitable franchise for Viacom18. We are contributing to its bottom line year on year. We have grown our ad sales over the previous year by almost 20 per cent. All of this has come through whole lot of rate increase, which this category totally deserves, as we have been under-indexed for the longest time. There has been a whole lot of rate increase on Sonic and Nickelodeon. This year topline has been with KCA (Kids’ Choice Awards), box office numbers, and subscription revenue (growing at 10 to 15 per cent) and ad sales.”
Despite demonetisation, the franchise recovered in February and March. As she says, “We were hit by 15-20 per cent from the revenue perspective.”
She adds, “We delivered on the bottom line over and above the budget and target that we have set and almost doubled it from last year.”
Also their shows like ‘Motu Patlu’ and ‘Shiva’ have done well on Viacom18’s digital platform, Voot. She adds, “Local content is ticking for us on television and digital. Revenue is coming from us through digital as well.”
She credits this to their branded solutions that they offer to their advertisers including promo licenses, brand integrations, school contact programs and product licenses. “The way we present our brands outside the normal FCT of 30 second spots seems to make all the difference for advertisers today. We had tentpole sponsorships, movie sponsorships and whole lot of non FCTs. It works for all stakeholders.”
Merchandising, an important segment
Viacom18 has always been working on strengthening its merchandising, which has worked in its favour. Jaipuria adds, “Over the last year we grew by more than 40 per cent in merchandising. We are now in 46 categories including toys, apparel, puzzle, back-to-school, innerwear; we have about 6000 SKUs and reach out to 5,000 retail points in the country. It’s over and above the ad sales and subscription and adding to our topline as well. It’s in single digit. I see it growing big time because there are more characters that are coming in.”
Kids’ category only to move further
Last year the kids’ category grew by 10 per cent to Rs 500 crore in ad sales. Jaipuria is expecting a similar growth percentage of about 10-15 per cent this year. “Ad sales for Nickelodeon in the last three years have been very good.”
Positive about the growing ad rates, Jaipuria says, “We have been growing our ad rates from 20 to 30 per cent. We are going to see a similar hike continuing this year because of the whole branded solution perspective that we have got. We have takers and advertisers. Mother Dairy is already talking to us for summer. Lot of brands are interested in going beyond the 12 per cent. I can imagine continuing with that if my competitors allow me to.”
Things have improved for the genre, Jaipuria doesn’t deny that, but it can be much better, as she says, “The trajectory has improved over the last three to five years. We are beginning to get what we deserve. This is the only reason why we can plough it back into the content. In terms of CPRPs and TVTs that we deliver we are way ahead of a lot of genres. But do we get that kind of rates that we should? Not yet.”