Kids TV is poised for expansion in India with Reliance ADAG's Big Broadcasting set to debut this fiscal.
Anticipating an increase in competition, the existing broadcasters in the kids' segment - Disney, Turner and Viacom 18 - have left no stone unturned to woo their loyal audiences.
Indiantelevision.com takes a look at what kept the kids channels busy in the first half of 2008.
With six players fighting it out, there has been no major change in the ratings ladder. Hungama continues to lead in the Hindi speaking markets (HSM) while Cartoon Network stays second, according to Tam data (C&S 4-14 years).
The southern region, however, has seen a change with Cartoon Network ousting Chutti TV to take the leadership slot.
HUNGAMA CONTINUES TO RULE
Hungama TV leads the pack with an average channel share of 28 per cent. This is followed by Cartoon Network, capturing a 23.3 share.
Hungama TV has held on to its leadership status with the help of its 'mad positioning' and 'fun programming'. The channel did not change its popular content much and mixed it with innovative ideas such as a search for 'Sabse Bada Pyjama', to engage children.
Doraemon and Shin Chan remained popular programmes on Hungama TV. During the on ground activation to promote the search of 'Sabse Bada Pyjama', the two favourite characters toured the key cities across India to urge participation from kids.
Cartoon Network, the oldest channel in the genre, maintained its second position. It displayed an impressive lineup of movies as a part its summer programming, but its channel share dipped in April and June (See table).
Pogo, the sister channel from Turner, has seen a dip in February. However, it recovered quickly and ended the first six months of the year with an average channel share of 17.5 per cent.
"In the summer period (mid-April to mid-June), Cartoon Network and Pogo's combined shares grew by 14 per cent (from 6 to 6.9 in absolute terms)," says Turner International India vice president and entertainment networks South Asia deputy general manager Monica Tata.
Turner has long gone the localisation route and tied up with local production houses to churn out Indian shows like CIA, MAD, Sunaina and movies on weekend. It has also acquired a bunch of local Indian animated movies to air on both its channels. The titles include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gulliver's Travels and action-packed Trouble in Tokyo, as well as Ninja Turtles III and Bal Ganesh.
"As far as ratings are concerned, we have always played fair and looked at long-term ratings rather than just a few weeks. Therefore, if you look at our overall performance through the year, it has been positive and we have been number one and number two channels right from January-June 2008, all India, all SECs, 4-14. Cartoon Network and Pogo's combined shares in 1 Jan 1 - 30 Jun 2008 stood at 43 per cent in All India;41 per cent in HSM and 48 per cent in South India," explains Tata.
Nick, which has grown consistently since the last one year, has settled with the third spot. The channel's average share in the HSM is 18.3 per cent, benefitting from its "Indianised" marketing initiatives.
"Our shows are extremely filtered and suitable for kids and family watching. Children can connect to the characters readily. Importantly, we carry out monthly initiatives. Even during exams we had 'Exam Popat' which has kept the TG engaged to our channel," says Nick India VP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria.
'Kaun Banega Valentoon', 'April Fool is School', 'Mother's day', 'Masti Ki Pathshala' and 'Nick Fundoo Superstar with Mandira Bedi and Saroj Khan' are some of the initiatives that Nick undertook in these six months.
Movies like Stuart Little and Dinotopia augmented the growth.
Kids viewing seems to have been marginally affected during the period when the IPL (Indian Premier League) matches were being telecast live. "IPL must have affected us marginally but not as much as the examinations have done," says Jaipuria.
Voicing similar sentiments, Tata says, "Cartoon Network and Pogo witnessed a 10 per cent growth during the IPL."
The next two players in the performance chart are Disney and Jetix. While the former stands at an average channel share of 8 per cent, the later has managed a share of 5 per cent.
CATOON NETWORK BECOMES NUMBER ONE IN SOUTH
The story in the Southern market, however, looks drastically different from what it was in 2007.
Chutti TV has dropped its share every month, ending with an average of 19 per cent in the first half of this year, down from 25.83 per cent in the year-ago period.
Surpassing everyone, Cartoon Network has gone ahead to claim the numero uno position with an average channel share of 26.84 per cent.
In the critical southern market, language plays an important role. Local feed of the channel in Tamil and Telugu has helped Cartoon Network to grow phenomenally.
"We are specifically catering to the southern markets with Tamil and Telugu language feeds and the active viewing day-part of Cartoon Network is already available in these two languages, apart from English in the other two Southern states. This has helped us build strong bonds with kids in South India and provides us with an opportunity to showcase their favourite programming in their preferred language," explains Tata.
Cartoon Network's sister channel Pogo has also remained consistent throughout these xmonths. Its average market share stands at 21.6 per cent.
"Of the top 100 transmissions for the first half of the year 2008, 73 have been from Cartoon Network and 4 from Pogo. Our top shows and characters include Tom & Jerry Cat and Mouse Full House, Ben 10 and from POGO the movie Krrish, Chhota Bheem and Mr Bean," says Tata.
Chutti TV, which ruled the market ever since its launch in April 2007, has declined to the fourth spot.
Explains Chutti TV business head Kavitha Zubin, "We are still experimenting with shows. We will soon secure our position in the top slot."
The channel is banking on shows like Gloria's House, Me and Mow. It has also acquired movie titles from Southern Star, Sony Pictures which will be aired soon.
"None of our shows are action-based. They are all educational and apt for family viewing. We have a variety of shows like puppets, 2D, 3D and clay cartoons and these are all educational and for family viewing," says Zubin.
Meanwhile Jetix, the action channel from Disney, has stayed consistent throughout the six-month period with an average channel share of 25.1 per cent.
The channel, which also runs its feed in Telugu and Tamil, remained unmoved from the second spot.
Perhaps, language disconnect is the reason why Nick, Disney Channel and Hungama TV feature in the bottom three.
"We definitely have plans for the southern market but we first want to consolidate our position in HSM," says Jaipuria.
6 months ago