Spotlight: Is Magic ingredient named innovation missing from kids content in South India?

Technology has made kids quite a demanding audience and TV will have to either innovate massively or miss the bus, feel experts

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Published: Oct 22, 2018 8:52 AM  | 7 min read

Kids genre is a space that none of the TV players should be ignoring. BARC India data says that there is particularly huge scope for growth of regional content in the kids’ entertainment space.  The  target age group for kids specific channels ranges from 2 to 14 years. Given that vacations are about to begin all over India in the next few days, TV consumption of kids is expected to go much higher than it already is. Innovative content is now the name of the game as kids are no longer just happy watching shows such as He-man, Aladdin, Popeye, Shaktiman to name a few- as was the case till a few years ago. Kids particularly belonging to South India have had even lesser choice with regard to TV shows as the abovementioned shows were dubbed for them in their regional languages. What lacks is localisation of content. 

It was only a few years ago that the general entertainment channels in South India slowly started introducing specific kids programs. The first animated Malayalam serial named Kaatile Kannan was aired in early 2000 on Doordarshan. Sun TV came up with a fantasy drama named My Dear Bootham targeted at kids during that period.  Surya TV hosted a television call-in show for kids by the name Hai Kids. Few reality and quiz shows for kids were broadcast in South Indian GEC channels such as Asianet, Amrita TV, Mazhavil Manorama, Star Vijay, Colors Tamil etc. But much still needs to be done to spiff up this space as it has immense potential to become a game changer for players in South.

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives and TV viewership patterns are no different. That no big revolution has happened in terms of kids programs in South India is only adding to the fact that kids are moving to digital instead of consuming what is handed out to them on their TV screens. With smart phones and tablets becoming an inevitable part of every kid’s life, it’s high time channels brought in some serious innovation in kids programming.

Speaking on the innovation (or lack of it) of kid’s content in the South Indian TV space, Kishan Kumar, Managing Partner, Wavemaker, says, “South is over-indexed on prosperity, economic growth, brand consciousness and purchase parity. We all know that it is also over-indexed on TV viewership. So ideally, kids as a genre should be flourishing in South especially with the pester-power these kids enjoy. However, I feel that kids as a genre is probably the least innovative in South."

According to Kumar, South Indian channels don’t invest much on content compared to national kids channels.

“None of the major players except Sun has invested in this genre. Advertisers too haven’t been doing justice to the genre by backing it with investments. And now with the advent of digital, TV is soon vanishing to be the lead entertainment option for kids. Overall, it is not a great sign, I must say! However, since South channels don’t invest much on content compared to national kids channels, their cost overheads will also be lower,” adds Kumar.

Saikat Mohanty, Vice President at Zenith is also of the opinion that the kids' space in South TV sector is behind in terms of innovation.

“The kids' space in Southern TV industry is behind in terms of innovation. The current content is mostly dubbed, which really does not bring out the real flavour of the channel or the culture of that market. While it garners decent eyeballs, from a content viewpoint, there can be a lot more that can be done,” says Mohanty.

Current scenario

There are four channels in the Regional (south) space specifically for kids from SUN TV Network- Chutti TV (Tamil) launched in 2007,  Chintu TV (Kannada), Kushi TV (Telugu) launched in 2009, Kochu TV (Malayalam) launched in 2011.  But even today, most of the programs being broadcast on these channels is dubbed content with scant exceptions- for instance, a program named Maya based on technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) broadcast on Kushi TV.

Speaking on the innovative programs by Sun Network in the kids space, Kavitha Jaubin, Cluster Head- Content acquisition and kids entertainment, SUN TV Network, says, “ We have done shows based on trending technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality in Kushi TV (Telugu), rightly named as Maya. We have touched human lives with Kochu TV’s Snehakootam (Malayalam) setting up flood relief activities. Chutti TV (Tamil) has never failed to entertain its audience in the comfort of their homes with its Motion Capture Games. We stay updated with what the kids want, be it fashion or ideas that excite them. All the four channels - Chutti, Chintu, Kushi and Kochu- use every day occasions to make it interesting for the kids who participate or view us. Since we have region based channels, it adds up to our positives and keeps us growing in the given space.”

Anto Puthiry, Vice President, Flowers TV, says, “ Flowers TV has catered to every target group despite age and gender, so is the approach towards kids genre. Since its launch, the channel has placed importance on kids' shows starting with Kutty Kalavara followed by Katturumbe - which is a major flagship program on the channel to finally launching an International level music reality show-TOP SINGER, which is exclusively for children between the age group of 6-14 years.”

Viewership Patterns

According to BARC Data, viewers in South begin their day early including kids. Viewership of Kids’ channels starts rising from 5:30 am and peaks between 8:00-8:30 am on weekdays. On weekend mornings, it peaks between 9:00-9:30 am. 

“On Weekdays, Kids’ viewership peaks twice, once in the morning, and again in the evening from 5:00 pm-5:30 pm as kids return from school,” says BARC Data.

Coming to the channel viewership impressions, Kushi TV has an average impressions of 17.6 million, 15.4 million is for Chutti TV, Kochu TV is 12.4 million and Chintu TV has average impressions of 11.3 million.

According to BARC, the top 5- categories of advertisers of these channels are Milk beverages, toilet/floor cleaners, toilet soaps, sugar confectionaries and biscuits.

Top 5 categories & advertiser
Week 1-37, 2018
Channels: Kushi TV, Chutti TV, Kochu TV, Chintu TV




No. Insertions







































The top advertisers for the channels include Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Lever Ltd, ITC Ltd, Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Health, Smithkline Beecham, says BARC Data.




No. Insertions


































Challenges and solutions

“The evolution of technology has taken over all aspects of our lives and it has influenced the younger generation in a massive way. Today, kids are engaging and not just viewing. Kids across the globe have made content creation the planet’s single largest shared obsession,” says Jaubin.

According to Mohanty, the overall spends done in South kids shows/channels account to about 3-4% of the overall spends.

Pointing out the challenges and reasons behind it, Mohanty says, “ There is no newness in content, most of the content is dubbed. Kids are moving towards digital (Youtube, Netflix, Voot etc), where the repository of content is huge. It’s anytime watch and there is no appointment viewing.”

“On an average, I don’t think kids genre is more than 2-3% of the TV adex. And that’s far lower compared to the viewership share of the genre. Even if it include kids shows in GECs, the percentage won’t be more than 5-6%. This can only change if more quality content gets created and more categories participate,” concludes Kumar.

As pointed out by Mohanty and Kumar, localisation of content is the way forward for kids' channels in South India. It's either that or losing out to the digital wave.





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