Guest Column: Affinity towards desi content on kids’ channels stood out in 2017: Leena Lele Dutta, SONY YAY!

The flashback of how 2017 has been for the kids space with highlights, viewership and forecast trends for the upcoming year

e4m by Leena Lele Dutta
Updated: Dec 27, 2017 8:49 AM

In 2017, the entertainment industry continued to be dominated by the television segment. However, the kids segment has witnessed immense growth potential for original content. From story-telling strategies to presentation and consumption of content, the possibilities are endless. It’s been an interesting year with the launch of Sony Pictures Networks India’s (SPN) first kids’ channel, Sony YAY!

Kids today are very intelligent. I noticed that they gravitate to situations and values that they are comfortable with. And I wanted to build on this and give them what they want. Sony YAY! launched with four original local shows divided into sub-genres; something that was done for the first time on Indian television in the kids space.

With the category being the third largest after Hindi general entertainment channels and Hindi movies channels, the expansion of the category audience to 2-14 from 4-14 years has drastically changed the game. According to the new BARC system, the 2-14 age group (*) is huge. The biggest challenge this category has right now is that it’s highly under-indexed. But after the merger of markets and addition of new audiences, the genre has got a GRP push.

OTT platforms are something that the animation space globally has come to love and adopt, given the kind of liberty and exposure content can enjoy if consumed through these platforms. Reports suggest that 84 per cent Indian parents allowed their child to bring an internet-connected device to bed, allowing them to watch online content freely. This has largely expanded our eco-system. Apart from content, due to the OTT space getting popular, we also see the scale and cost of production increasing considerably.

Fortunately, due to efficient work done by our distribution team, SPN is present in almost 90 per cent of all digital homes.

Consumer trends

2017 was and has been a year that saw a lot of movement within the industry. But there were a few trends that stood out more than the rest. 
An affinity towards local, desi content is what stood out in 2017. Due to this, the share and run time of Indian content and shows on kids channels have increased drastically.

Local content curated from start to finish in India is therefore proving to be the game changer for the kids’ genre and has defined the way kids’ channels have evolved in India. The most notable shift has been an increasing inclination towards local characters that the kids relate and can engage with. This trend has seen an increase in the various activations and engagement offerings from kids’ channels.

Forecast for 2018

The Indian kids’ space will always be a healthy mix of local and foreign content, with the demand for local content continuously increasing.

Once the industry increases localised content and scale of its shows, there will be an expansion of the creative talent pool from its low baseline levels, presently. Resources will also be put in to strengthen characters and to create IPs since the intent is to engage with kids and bring them content which is both engaging and interactive. With the digital platform trying to be as user friendly as possible and constantly updating content that is loved by kids, in my opinion, multi-screen viewership is going to shoot up in the coming year.

Channels have also recognised the need to have their audience directly interact with them. For kids to stay loyal to characters and programs, they must be engaged in a meaningful way, constantly and consistently. So, this trend will see an increase in activations and campaigns, both on-ground as well as on air.

(The author is Business Head of SONY YAY!, the latest kids channel from SPN Network)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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