Kids Ka Jai Ho!

Surely the biggies of the Hindi general entertainment space have been channelising their efforts to attract the kids segment. If Colors has been trying to capture the small pops through its top-rated shows Balika Vadhu and Uttaran, Zee TV is gearing up to use this arsenal in its new property Aap Ki Antara.
But has this effort anyhow eaten into the viewership pie of the discerning bunch of little champs, the kids’ channels as a category? Not really!!! If 2008 saw the kids genre close at a 13.78 per cent share (period Jan-May 2008, All India C&S 4-14), the same period in 2009 (period Jan-May 2009, All India C&S 4-14) saw the genre grow by 1.08 per cent.

Kids Genre Share % in 2009
Month
ALL INDIA 09
Jan
13.9
Feb
13.6
Mar
14.5
Apr
15.6
May
16.6
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

Within the category, again, there are a few transitions. While Cartoon Network still continues to hold the fort, the channel has seen a slight dip of 0.4 per cent in its market share for the period between January to May in 2009 as compared to the same period last year.

Sibling channel Pogo too has surely managed to remain number two in the space. The channel has also seen a rise in its market share from 20 per cent in 2008 to 22.8 per cent in 2009.

All India Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
29
26
27
24
23
Pogo
23
24
24
22
21
Nick
17
16
15
21
20
Hungama
14
15
17
14
18
Jetix
10
11
10
9
9
Disney
7
7
7
9
8
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

HSM Story

Nevertheless, when it comes to slicing the market further to concentrate on the HSM space, the view is visibly different and new. While CN has seen a slight dip here too for the same period over last (Jan – May 2008), it has been ousted for the first time ever by new market leader Nick for the last two consecutive months. Nick has also seen a 4.4 per cent upward swing in its market share, compared to 2008.

So what helped Nick emerge as the number one kids channel in the Hindi speaking market?

“There are a couple of factors that helped us attain this position. First, the Nicktoons – characters that have helped Nick establish space and engagement with the kids leading to an increase in the stickiness of the channel,” says Nick India SVP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

“Second, we have managed to take Nick beyond television, thus making it more tangible. And I think we did that very successfully with our experimental 360 degree marketing philosophy – we wanted to be in every place where children are,” she adds.

In 2009, CN, however, continues to remain above Nick at 23.4 per cent (Jan – May 2009). Pogo hasm meanwhile, climbed 4.6 per cent up over last year to garner 22 per cent market share.

HSM Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Nick
22
20
18
25
25
Hungama
17
19
21
17
22
Cartoon Network
27
25
25
21
20
Pogo
22
24
24
21
19
Disney
8
8
8
10
10
Jetix
4
4
4
5
5
Spacetoon Kids TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
While there is definitely a Cartoon Network vs Nick tale here, there seems to be a new contender creeping up the ladder to challenge the old bee.

Latest Tam data shows that Hungama TV, the kids channel for 4-14-year-olds which saw a 8.8 per cent fall in its market share over last, has relocated to the number two spot to push CN down the ladder for the month of May, 2009.

Recently, as part of its revamping strategy, the channel had introduced three new bands during summer and infused new shows into the bands. And its quite evident that the channel shored up its ratings post the change.

The channel had acquired two live action shows, Hatim from Star and Dharam Veer from NDTV Imagine to put them under the action band, Dum Powder. The Trouble Soda band features shows such as Doraemon and Ninjaboy Rantaro while Fun Gas showcases Shinchan and Asari Chan.

Disney channel, meanwhile, has also exhibited an upward growth in its market share.

Well, indications are on that while competition is really getting fierce, competitors are also putting their acts together to displace the winning feather from CN’s hat.

So, does CN foresee any collision ahead?

Says Turner International India vice president and deputy general manager – entertainment networks, South Asia Monica Tata, “Cartoon Network and Pogo’s relative shares in HSM have grown this January-May 2009 to 45 per cent from 41 per cent in the same period in 2008. These numbers are also a reflection of Turner’s long term vision and strategy for India that has paid rich dividends making Cartoon Network and Pogo the most viewed and loved brands amongst kids in India. Not only kids, but parents too give the highest endorsement to these two networks as their choice for kids (per New Generations 2008).”

“Besides, we also enjoy the lion’s share of the advertising pie. Increased competition has not outstayed us from our leadership position in the last 13 years and that’s a merit/result of our focus on the long-term rather than short-term measures and gains and a proof that we know and service our consumers best amongst all,” Tata adds.

South Story

Treading the Southern path, CN indisputably continues to rule the region exhibiting its leadership crown. Placing itself at the second spot, however, is not CN’s sibling channel Pogo, the second in command in the All India market, but Disney’s Jetix that is fed on action adventure content and targeted at only boys between the age-group of 6-10.

“Of the two global channels (read Disney and Jetix), Jetix is a more defined channel. We have made it available in four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu,” said Walt Disney Television International (India) senior vice president and managing director Antoine Villeneuve earlier in an interview with us.

South Market
Channel
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Cartoon Network
36
32
35
34
32
Jetix
27
32
30
26
30
Pogo
26
26
25
27
26
Nikelodeon
3
4
4
5
5
Disney
4
3
4
4
3
Hungama
3
3
3
3
3
Spacetoon Kidss TV
0
0
0
0
0
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India
Advertising and the kids’ genre

Advertising growth came under pressure amid recession and clients and advertisers became cautious about their ad spend. As a result kids channels were stressed to move to quarterly deals with big advertisers, slash their ad rates and see some brands do a walk out. Yet, in spite of all, the category saw its ad volume grow by 36.87 per cent for the period from January to May 2009 over the same period last year.

Period
Jan-May 08
Jan-May 09
AD Volumes (Secs ‘000s)
7726
10575
Source: TAM
So does this increase indicate that existing advertisers had increased their spots across the kids channels while channels were unable to attracting new advertisers during the recessionary period?

“Not really. Television is the cheapest medium to reach out to the masses. For every other medium, there is an extra amount to be paid. Manufacturers understand this and they have also recognised our growth. And, thus, even during recession we have doubled our rates,” says Nick’s Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

While Nick claims that despite challenging times the channel quadrupled its sales revenue as advertisers found value in what they offered, Cartoon Network was on course to achieve its yearly targets.

“We’ve added more value for the advertisers with innovative and customised solutions. For example, ‘The Winning Secret’ a contest specially created to build Boost’s association as the energy partner for the Rajasthan Royals that received over 84000 entries! And, ‘Morning Shines’, a customised pre-school programming block specially packaged for Johnsons Baby Top-to-Toe Wash,” says Tata.

Apart from traditional advertisers, broadcasters state that a lot of non-traditional advertisers across sectors like FMCG, investment banks and durable products are also eyeing this space. The rationale behind this, they feel, are an increase in the co-viewing pattern and also the mere pester power of kids who have the ability today to influence parent’s decisions.

“In order to spend time with their kids, parents end up spending a lot of time on the kids channels. Also, animation as a category is today appealing to adults. Thus, a lot of co-viewing is taking place,” explains Jaipuria.

Cartoon Network, meanwhile, claims that over 30 per cent of the channel’s advertisers reach out to its secondary audience (that is 15+) such as Procter & Gamble, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Hindustan Unilevers, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, Marico, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, LG Electronics, Voltas, Whirlpool, Hitachi, Tata Tea and L’Oreal, amongst others.

Says Tata, “We have a robust portfolio of clients comprising both traditional and non-traditional kids’ marketers with over 165 clients between Cartoon Network and Pogo. We are confident of further upping our non-traditional clientele, as 47 per cent of all viewership for the channels comes from CS 15+ audiences.”

Broadcasters feel that the main factors that have led to the growth of the genre are localisation of content, co-viewing pattern, pester power of kids and taking the medium beyond the television space through licensing and merchandising, on-ground activities, constant promotions, polls, votes and contests.

Local content adds a lot of local flavour to the content and therefore helps in increasing the channels’ stickiness. CN believes that the 20 Indian animation shows/features playing on the channel have worked well for the channel. And its 2009 plan, therefore, is to expand on Indian animation content. For Pogo too the focal point will be to expand its original production.

Similarly, while Disney has managed to establish its brand connect with audiences through its franchises, the ratings have been coming in from locally acquired live action content.

“There has been an effect on ratings, but when it comes to a brand connect with the kids it is with our franchise properties. The best example of this is Hanna Montana. Our endeavour is to build a localised experience through Hanna Montana and our other properties,” says Villeneuve.

All said and done, industry believes that even though the category’s viewership continues to grow, even today it remains hugely under indexed. “As a result, in spite of contributing 7 per cent to the total television viewership, it commands only two per cent of the entire television ad revenue pie. This is because of the baggage that the space has been carrying over the years where advertisers are used to paying to the GECs,” avers Jaipuria.

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