With rise of localised content creation, kids genre to grow by 12-14% in 2018
Even though the kids genre in the country is still under indexed, it still has the potential to grow beyond limits. Industry experts believe that owning the IPs and localisation of the content is going to be a way forward for the category which is expected to grow by 10-14 per cent in 2018.
Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Business Head, Kids Entertainment Cluster at Viacom18 said, “I think slowly and steadily we all have realized that we are great at conceptualizing, developing and creating our own content. Therefore over the years, a lot of local content has evolved in the genre. The dependence on international content that we acquired from the West is going to dwindle and local IPs will evolve even more. We will continue to grow as broadcast and local IPs and that’s the future.”
Echoing similar thoughts on the local IPs, Leena Lele Dutta, Business Head, SPN Kids genre added, “what has worked for us was local characters, names and stories. This is the reason the channel has such good viewership today. We intentionally moved away from alien characters as we would have needed a long time to establish them.” The channel completed a year recently.
“Over the years, local animation has definitely come of age as Indian characters sit comfortably alongside global ones within the kids’ landscape. At Disney, our stories and characters remain region and platform agnostic,” said Devika Prabhu, Executive Director – Content and Communications, Media Networks, Disney India.
Talking about the growth in the genre, Nina mentioned, “I see a lot of growth this year, now that GST and demonetization is behind us, the category will grow 12-15 per cent, both in terms of viewership and ad sales.” Whereas Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network Dentsu Aegis Network, feels that the growth will be more or less in the line of overall television growth, which is expected to be around 10-12 per cent.
Challenges in the kids genre space
As per the BARC data, children, as an audience i.e: the age group of 02-14 years, account for 20 per cent of total TV impressions. This is the highest share across all age cuts. However, the biggest challenge the industry is witnessing is that a lot of content which kids consume is on GEC or a movie channel.
87 per cent kids in 2-14 age group watch non-kids channels, while only 13 watch kids channels, according to a research report by BARC India titled ‘A Peek into Kids Viewership’.
Krishna Desai, Executive Director & Network Head - Kids, South Asia, Turner India, “Kids are increasingly exposed to a range of content online and offline. Their viewing habits are dynamic and ever-evolving. While they are exposed to a vast range of other content, cartoons hold a special place in their hearts. However, the fact remains that due to the burgeoning phenomenon of Indian households primarily owning a single television set, since decades, the percentage of time spent by kids watching kids’ channels has flattened out to not more than 20 per cent.”
On the Production Front
Recently, Discovery Kids launched Little Singham in partnership with Reliance Animation Studio. Also on completing a year, Sony Yay announced their new character Kicko. Viacom18 will also be launching their fifth IP.
Speaking about the production part of the industry, Shibasish Sarkar, COO, Reliance Entertainment explained, “What is lacking in the Indian animation industry is its equation with cartoons. When you talk about animation, people only think of it in terms of cartoons. Today animation is for all ages , you can’t define that it is only for children. When we started animation in the country, it was all about mythological characters such as, Ram, Krishna and Arjun, because all these characters were established in viewers' minds. You really don’t need to spend money on these characters. But if we launch a new character, we also need to establish them, and you need to have some kind of engagement with kids. The problem is, we don't have that kind of funds available in India, because we are still growing and the industry is not that mature.”
He further added, “Nobody is ready to put that much investment in, but in the West, they first create characters, interact with kids, then convert it into a show. Now that we are maturing, we have to come out with shows like Little Singham, where we can start connecting with the kids, but again Singham is an established brand. Also we need to be very strong in pre-production. India is very weak in pre -roduction, as we do not have much talent in India. Also we have to create awareness about animation is.”
Desai also mentioned that animation is not a quick and easy process; it involves thorough visualization and storytelling. “Currently, the major challenge which India faces is a relatively low supply of key talent in animation, especially when it comes to local writers and storyboard artists. While there is incredible potential, there is a need for animation education and training, and the creation of a skilled workforce in India. With the right kind of funding and education, we can be confident of Indian animation standards being on par with global counterparts.”
Kids --the under indexed category
Although it is a robust category, the genre is still under leveraged. Uttam Pal Singh- Head of Discovery Kids feels it is more of an industry call here. “We have meetings with our sales team and with advertisers, but what we essentially understand is that kids. as an audience, are becoming stronger, the genre is growing. You cannot really ignore them and I think things will improve.”
“The genre has a total of 7 percent of viewership on TV, but does not have more 50 per cent of Adex. The kids genre is not the only category which is serving children, but the situation is getting better,” said Jaipuria.
Disney's Prabhu refused to mention numbers, but she said while advertising remains under-indexed for this genre, “we continue to witness a high double digit growth on Disney Channels on the back of great performance and partnerships.”
Talking about the growth, Jaipuria shared, “Despite having headwinds, thanks to GST, we have still seen a fairly robust growth on the top line and ad revenue perspective. We have grown between 12-15 per cent which include the subscription revenue as well. Meanwhile, Dutta believed that ad revenue in the category has remained stable.
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