Hindi movie channels battle for kids eyeballs

Hindi movie channels are finding a new way to get into the viewing of kids. They are creating specific slots that will air movies for the 4-14-year-olds, a move that will put them up against the kids channels.

Filmy, the movie channel from Sahara’s stable, has launched a dedicated slot for kids. Zee Cinema has followed suit with Dopahar Zee Cinema Par.

In April, Filmy created the ‘Junior Filmy’ Sunday block from 10 am to 2 pm to fill it with two back-to-back movies. This came on the back of an experiment carried out in July last year with the screening of The Jungle Book Series in the same time band.

“We tasted success for two months. Our next logical step was to create a dedicated kids slot on the movie channel that generally doesn’t segment audiences according to age groups,” says Filmy business head Shailesh Kapoor.

A month later, it was Zee Cinema which branded a special kids daily slot from 19 May. The Dopahar Zee Cinema Par slot at 12:30 pm has Darsheel Safary of Taare Zameen Par fame as the brand ambassador.

Star Gold has also hopped on the bandwagon, starting a three-week long festival Baccha Party from 7 April. The dedicated kids slot has screenings of such movies like The Mummy Returns, Bhago Bhoot, Karamati Coat, Prahlad, Penguins Ki Prem Kahani and Haatim.

In the month of June, Star Gold will also be airing kids movies on Sundays in the morning time band Weekend Matinee. The films include Antariksh, Jurrasic Park, Chain Kulli Ki Main Kulli and Krishna- Aayo Natkhat Nandalal.

Kids are an interesting segment to tap, says Kapoor. “Kids form potential viewership of our channel. Puting up a kids slot, with special children films on it, is a conscious attempt to increase the viewership and provide variety.”

Creating characters to promote the slot

Filmy and Zee Cinema are running the extra mile to promote the slot.

Filmy, for instance, has introduced Five Juniors as presenters – Pink Rose, Miss B, Gadbad Gobbar, Jaggu Jasoos and Mr Octopus. These juniors pop up from time to time, offering children a different viewing experience throughout the movie.

“The Five Juniors are animated characters, graphics and pop ups which keep occurring during the movies. This is specially customised to keep the kid viewers invovle in the film in an engaging manner. Apart from this, a contest question is asked during every break of the movie,” says Kapoor.

As part of the engagement game, Zee Cinema has introduced Din Mein Taare contest. Kids have to count the stars which appear on the screen while the movie is shown. Five winners from across the country will get a chance to meet Darsheel safary, after the kids carnival is over.

“Meeting Darsheel is a big thing for kids. Darsheel is a kid next door and yet a hero for them. Therefore we have roped him as ambassador for this slot. The idea is to keep the viewer engaged in conversation with the channel using these contests as interactive tools,” says Zee Cinema deputy vice president marketing Akash Chawla.

New brands walk in

Advertisers are flocking in great numbers. And new categories like real estate brands are extending their support. Increasing influence of kids in the buying decisions has, perhaps, contributed to this new enthusiasm from advertisers.

“Apart from the traditional kids’ brands like Parle and Britannia, we have also got FMCG and real estate brands which are putting in money for the kids slot,” says Kapoor.

Lifebuoy is the presenting partner of Zee Cinema’s Dopahar Zee Cinema Par slot. Whirlpool is also one of the sponsors.

Another innovative advertising trend in this season of vacation is that kids channels are advertising in these movie channels to expand their visibility. Nick, for instance, is advertising on Filmy during the Junior Filmy slot.

ACQUISITION

Banking high on the kids slot, Filmy has acquired a lot of the titles from Walt Disney and Sony pictures. The entire series of Karate Kids, Air Bud Series, Spy mate and Duke are being dubbed into Hindi and telecast.

With limited movies in the market and increasing demand, the acquisition prices have also gone high. Taking the syndication route is becoming a popular practice. Filmy has inked barter deal with Pogo for Chhota Chetan and Abra Ka Dabra.

“Programming cost has definitely gone up. When you are pumping in so much of money, there should be equal returns. Syndication and barter has emerged as new business models which we still need to get further pushed,” says Kapoor.

Filmy is looking at creating Junior Filmy as a permanent slot. “We are targetting kids between 12-14 years. We are giving them enough time to sample the channel and get habituated. Four years from now, they can form the core TG of our channel. So we are looking at long term benefits,” elaborates Kapoor.

Zee Cinema, however, is using the kids slot as a summer two-month push to attract them during vacation time.

For a channel that is sitting on a huge library, Zee Cinema has made no new purchases. It is utilising the films that it already has in its library – Fun2sh, Pyaare Mohan, Ishq, Tarzan The Wonder Car and Makdee. Apart from these, the channel shows Englsih films like George of the Jungle and Return to the 36th chamber of Chaolin which are dubbed in Hindi.

“Our library is big enough and the titles that we have chosen have consistently done well for the channel. So we decided to put them all together in a slot and run a festival,” points out Chawla.

On the other hand Filmy has long term plans and wants to establish the slot as a complete kids destination.

“We are looking at it for long term. We still need to give this slot at least 5-6 months to consolidate. In the meantime, we are promoting it on-air and will go on-ground slowly. We want to establish this slot,” says Kapoor.

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