Will a 9% growth in kids' universe translate into revenue & viewership for kids category?

Industry leaders weigh in on whether the findings of the BARC TV Universe Estimates 2020 on the kids genre is a positive sign for the category

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Apr 22, 2021 1:27 PM
kids tv

Despite the growth of digital across categories and age groups, television continues to remain the most trusted medium not only for adults but also for kids. As per the recent findings from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India’s TV Universe Estimates 2020, in terms of age groups, the kids’ universe has witnessed the highest growth (age 2 to 14) at 9% mainly driven by rural India. 

A Disney India spokesperson shared that the new universe estimates reflect a larger base of kids and highlight this demographic as a key viewership segment on television. It is also heartening to see this reflected in the growth of the kid’s genre, said the spokesperson. 

“At Disney, we have always enjoyed a great affinity and loyalty among kids; emerging as the clear choice of entertainment and a network that they want to spend time with. Through our multiplex of kids channels, we offer variety through distinct and differentiated content that is tailor-made for the entertainment needs of kids across the 2-14 yrs age group. Be it action, adventure, comedy, early childhood programs, or even live-action offerings like Imagine That which fuel the curiosity in both kids and adults alike - our stories and characters have become an integral part of their lives and we welcome the opportunity to entertain a larger section of audiences with their favourite stories and much-loved characters,” said the spokesperson. 

He further added, “At Disney, we have always believed that our partners appreciate the value we bring through our offerings. For instance, our impact property – Imagine That generated interest across brands from different categories – we tapped into stationery with Cello ColourUp, Edu-tech with BYJU’s, FMCG with Savlon and Toys with Lego. We believe with kids increasingly influencing their family decisions and the growth in the category; there is definitely potential to explore some meaningful partnership and advertising opportunities with brands across.”

The viewership for the kid’s genre grew 5.7% (among the Individuals 2+) in 2020 from 2018. The kids’ genre viewership grew to 6.4 million AMA (Average minute audience) in 2020 from 6.0 million AMA in 2018. 

“The broadcasters have been bullish on the kid’s genre. Now TV reaching out to more homes, there is an opportunity to reach to more kids. The genre will become stronger in times to come. COVID is the one big factor that really pushed the viewership for the category last year and we are witnessing similar trends again,” Uttam Pal Singh, Head, Discovery Kids. 

He added, “From the kid’s broadcasters’ point of view there has been consistent investment into making IPs which are relatable and local. This investment has been growing consistently. From 2018 to 2020, the entire kids’ universe grew and the growth of 9% in this age group is a good sign for us. Also, animation in general has a universal appeal. At Discovery Kids, our rural youth has been very significant. The IPs that we create connects more with the local population for instance shows like Fukrey Boyz and Little Singham are stories that anybody in India can relate to. Having said that, language is a very big factor in growth. We are currently available in five languages and we do have plans to add more languages.” Singh also is optimistic that this growth would further translate into revenue. 

The findings from TV Universe Estimates not only established the fact that TV is still popular among the kids but also validates the growth of TV households in India i.e one is male/female-dominated and the other one is kids. Experts believe that this growth will help the kid’s genre grow their viewership and revenue, and genres like movies or infotainment will be at an advantage. 

“The pester power of kids across India (urban, metro, non-metro) will continue to grow, and therefore advertisers will want potent and unique methods of reaching them,” said Sunder Aaron, Founder, and MD, The Q- youth. The general Hindi entertainment (GEC) platform has announced its summer line up with the launch of the newest animated content.

The lineup will include some of the most riveting stories of legendary characters and their cultural importance like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Panchatantra stories, Akbar Birbal, and Vikram Betal in a fresh and unique format, making it interesting for the young and old to watch together. 

While the broadcasters in the kid’s category believe that the growth will further translate into both viewership and revenue, Vishal Shah, Managing Partner, MediaCom believes that the growth of 9% in the age group (2-14) in the kid’s category is not significant. 

He pointed out that the kids’ broadcasters are losing a race to digital. “If you look at the number of cord-cutters, it is exponentially increasing day by day and this is a big threat to the TV industry.”

He further explained that digital is growing at a much faster pace than TV, catching up with TV in just the last 5-10 years. “The advantage that TV still continues to have is the scale of reach and efficiency. I don't think digital can easily takeover on this from TV. In short term, there might be an increase in numbers in the kids’ category but I don't see this having a huge impact even on the revenues. The overall active number of kids that are going to watch at any given point of time that we will have to see that how much incremental reach is building upon that or if there is an increment on the time- spent and as a result of which ratings or GRPs are going up.”

He also mentioned that a lot has changed in the past year owing to COVID and there has been a big shift.  Earlier, there was a time limit to screen time, unlike today when kids are also having their classes online. They are spending more time on laptops or mobile. TV is more like a public screen in a family whereas mobile is considered as a private screen. 

As per the BARC yearbook 2020, total ad volumes accounted for by kids channels declined marginally in 2020, although the share of the genre in total ad volume on the TV, remained stable at 3%. 

“Even though it's a good sign that the category has grown despite the digital growth even among kids, it also has its own challenges as this growth will also benefit the other genres as well; we have seen that kids also spend more time on the GECs and movies channels. The category is not only competing with digital/OTT platforms but also with other genres. The impact of the category growth is likely to reflect on ratings but will it also convert into revenues that is yet to be seen,” said a senior media planner. 

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