Competition & fragmentation define kids’ genre in the South

Leading broadcasters & advertisers from South India speak on the vibrancy and the significance of kids’ channels, a genre performing exceedingly well in terms of ratings and advertiser interest down south

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Jan 3, 2015 10:45 AM
Competition & fragmentation define kids’ genre in the South

The broadcasting space has witnessed a huge change in terms of the kids’ genre in recent years. Several national players like Nick, Sonic and Nick Junior from the Viacom18 stable, Disney Kids, Disney Junior and some of the regional players like the Chitiram from Kalaignar TV, Kochu TV, Chintu, Chutti and  Kushi all four from the Sun TV Network have tried to differentiate themselves in portraying the content differently. Does this indicate that the kids’ genre is opening up to more segmented viewing and is it a new developing trend?

We speak to some of the kids’ channel heads and advertisers to know the trend that is prevailing in the south.

Localisation of content clubbed with entertainment

Children’s entertainment genre is a formidable player and has been performing at par with the GEC channels in south. It has been hogging significant share in the 4+ market category. In South India, the genre has six per cent of viewership when compared to pan India which is 9 per cent of the total viewership.

Talking about the trend, Kavitha Jaubin, Cluster Head – Kids Channels, Sun TV Network says, “With mushrooming channels on kids’ space, the children are left with myriad options for entertainment. It hence poses a huge challenge for every player to offer nothing but the best of entertainment for children. Outright fun and entertainment is what the little audience expects when they tune in.”

“Another important development is that kids have established that they possess the potential to drive viewership at home. Hence, it is not just a kid who comes on board but also the entire household. With parents in the scene, there is a steady paradigm shift in offering mere entertaining content to inclusion of education content as well. An offshoot to this ‘family viewership’ is that, children are exposed to GEC space. Hence most often the kids programming has to outwit the GEC content. This is a tough challenge,” she adds.

Her views are shared by one of the leading broadcasters with a kids’ channel in their network, “Most of the leading   national kids channel networks like Turner ( Cartoon Network & Pogo ), Disney(comprising of Disney, Hungama, XD and Disney Junior) and Nick(Nick, Sonic and Nick Junior) have their content on their main line channels dubbed in both Telugu and Tamil apart from Hindi in the hope of reaching out to a larger  audience amongst children. The advent of numerous kids channels like Chutti TV in Tamil, Kochu TV in Malayalam and Chintu TV in Kannada suggest that there is room for kids specific channels in regional languages especially in South India.”

As per TAM subscribers week 39 to week 46 (last eight weeks), Nickelodeon has been at the top in south as well as pan-India. In the south, it had average ratings of 38 TVTs which is 19 per cent market share followed by Pogo and Disney with 29 TVTs. Both Pogo and Disney had a 14 per cent market share. Among the southern regional players, Chutti TV with ratings of 22 TVTs, which is 11 per cent, topped the regional kids channel.

Experts feel, although on-air programming is vital for creating prominence, noteworthy on-ground and other out-of-home activities are required to stay abuzz. But for eons to come, there will be few factors that will govern the success of a channel and that is- Interactivity and innovation.

Advertisers’ Perspective

There are very few kids channels that have top ratings, and these ratings differ week on week depending upon the performance of the programs.  Quite often popular programs get shelved or recast into another time slot just to ensure that the overall ratings of the channel do not suffer. Advertisers believe that the kids’ genre will only grow to greater heights, as there are over 370 million children in India under the age of 14, and this is a huge target audience to address.

Philip Royappan, Marketing Manager, Funskool India remarked, “We believe that in many households today , kids  play an influential role in the buying/purchase decisions, these may be for products as small as choosing a cereal flavour, or even leading to the selection of a big time purchases like that of  a car for the family. Hence, we find that there are multiple categories of advertisers today in the kids’ genre.  We being, in the toy business would like to see the kids genre grow in the years to come and we dedicate a large part of our advertising budget specifically on kids’ channels.”

In comparison to GEC Channels, kids’ channels are definitely more cost effective especially for toy manufacturers and stationary companies, however with the cap on advertising per hour, the rates on kids channels have been witnessing an upward trend over the last few years.

One of the advertisers, on condition of anonymity said, “For us kids actually matter a lot, so it makes sense for us to be on those channels which cater to kids. Earlier kids channels meant only one or two so deciding on advertising wasn’t a big deal. But now, with emergence of new channels, it’s always tough to get the best deal from the top rated channels. On the other hand internet has taken away some of the kids’ viewership, which the advertisers have started looking at. So, the money is fragmented across platforms, as the media consumption of the kids is changing. In spite of all these factors, kids’ channels help us to reach out to our consumers and I feel TV is the best medium to increase awareness and reach.”

Is running a kids’ channel a viable proposition?

Without a speck of doubt, Jaubin feels that there is going to be fascinating competition on the cards with channels jostling in the kids’ space. She also feels that technology will rein supreme and this will call for its integration into children’s content as well.  Round-the-clock entertainment will be the only way to keep children glued and also stay in the competition. Else, one channel’s miss will be another’s gain. Another concurrent activity will be that of advertisers. It will be ‘loop-phenomena’ where advertisers will be willing to accelerate investment in kids’ realm and this in turn will push channels to tighten the on-air content so that more of them will seek their channel.

Rajendra Prasad, Business Head, MEC South says, “Broadly there are two types of audiences that we target - kids and women audiences. Reaching out to kids using content and platform native to them is common sense. But kid’s genre offers a distinct ‘cost to viewership’ advantage when leveraged for women audience. About 15 to 20 per cent of the television budget is invested in the genre for campaigns that has women and kids as the primary and secondary audience respectively.”

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