We have consistently maintained a market share of 5-6%: Business Head, Sony Yay

Leena Lele Dutta speaks to exchange4media as the kids channel completes one year

by Sonam Saini
Published - Apr 19, 2018 8:57 AM Updated: Apr 19, 2018 8:57 AM

Sony Pictures Network India’s youngest kid has turned one. Kids channel Sony Yay has completed a year in the industry. The channel was launched with a local flavour including shows such as Guru Aur Bhole, Sab Jholmaal Hai and Prince Jai Aur Dumdaar Viru.

Leena Lene Dutta, Business Head, SPN Kids genre, spoke to exchange4media about the journey so far and the future plans.

“The journey has been quite good. It has worked out for us because we have local characters, names and stories. This is the reason the channel has such a good viewership today. We intentionally moved away from alien characters as we would have needed a long time to establish them. We have achieved this success in just one year, when other channels took five years to do it.”

Speaking about viewership, Dutta shared, “In ranking, we have been way above other channels launched in the last five or seven years. Today, we are addressing 24 million children in a month. This is a cluttered category, but we have consistently maintained a market share of 5-6 %. ”

Months before the launch of Sony Yay, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), in February last year, changed the entire TG of kids genre from 4-14 years to 2-14 years. This posed a few challenges to the channel at the start.  

“We were worried because the age group of 2-14 years is a huge demographic cut. A two-year-old kid will not watch what a 14-year-old kid will. The viewing pattern is different. The biggest challenge for us was to get our viewership based aligned to the new system,” said Dutta.

The Business Head further spoke about the growth Sony Yay is looking at this year and the ongoing tariff issue.

“We will have a sizable growth, if all goes well. The industry is going through a major change in terms of distribution patterns. There is lot of consolidation happening on the ground with MSOs. The tariff order will also determine the growth. But keeping that aside, we are reasonably looking to grow by at least 25 per cent this year.”

Keeping the local flavour intact, the channel has added two new language options --Bengali and Malayalam. This has made Sony Yay the only kids channel in India with five languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam). The channel has already produced 88 hours of original content and is slated to scale up to an additional 120 hours in the second year.

“Our strongest market so far has been Chennai after HSM. We are doing better than the other channels which have been there for around 10 years now. The other markets where we have seen a huge traction is West Bengal. The content consumption per say is very high there and that is the reason we launched a Bengali feed,” said Dutta.

The channel plans to further extend its viewer base with the help of a comprehensive summer campaign that reaches out to over 25 million kids across the country through an extensive TV plan coupled with on-ground activations such as 84 city canter, mall activations and various other associations.

“Our canter activity, which is the biggest in India so far, has received an overwhelming response from the sponsors. We offer a lot of things,” Dutta mentioned.

“All the campaigns that we did, like Jholmaal Bhari Diwali to Jingle Jholmaal, were sponsored. In fact, the brand score on our channel has doubled. Brands know that they have a winner with them. No other channel offers 100 per cent desi content.”

On the digital front, the network has tied up with Netflix. Shows such as Sab Jholmaal Hai, Jai and Viru and Guru Bhole will be available on the platform. The channel is also looking at a strategy for creating content for other digital platforms.

Sony Yay is truly going the extra mile to make this year as special as ever. The channel does not only want to be a part of kids’ entertainment but also want to be a part of their everyday lives. It has entered the licensing and merchandising market in association with Black White Orange (BWO), a leading licensing, merchandising and brand agency.

On the first anniversary, the channel announced the launch of their new super show and its character, KickO and Super Speedo. Their biggest launch of the year, the action-comedy show features adventures of a superhero kid and his special gadget car Super Speedo.

Also, the channel plans to introduce 10 new films on television in 2018-- five of them being launched this summer as a part of the channel’s movie festival ‘Housefull Fridays’. Based on two of their flagship shows, the five films being premiered are Honey Bunny in Plane Hijack, Honey Bunny in Himalayan Car Rally, Honey Bunny in Double Impact, Guru aur Bhole the Gladiators and Guru aur Bhole in Alien Busters.

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