MUMBAI: Advertisers need to forge strategic partnerships with kids broadcasters rather than just doing FCT deals to engage this extremely critical demographic. This was the key takeaway from a panel discussion at the recently concluded Ficci Frames 2013.
The panel comprising broadcasters, researchers and marketers deliberated on the reasons why kids channels are not able to monetise their content, despite being the defacto home of this target group.
Kellogg's Marketing Director India & South Asia Harpreet S Tibb said the objective of an advertiser is to reach their target group through different mediums.
Kids consume a lot of content outside of children channels; they watch reality shows and movies on Hindi entertainment channels.
Today's kids, he contended, are increasingly becoming screenagers consuming content not just on television but also online.
"In such a scenario, kids channels should come up with diverse and differentiated content that is valuable and meaningful for kids. Kids today are gravitating towards newer mediums. They behave differently in different age groups," Tibb said. "We are looking at long-term partnerships wherein we can co-create content."
Disney-UTV Executive Director Kids Network Vijay Subramaniam, however, feels that the advertisers have refused to see the true potential of the genre.
"Advertisers haven't seized the opportunity to tap into this segment. Advertisers who have been on kids channels have reaped the benefits," he asserted.
He also believes that co-creating content is easier than done as kid's content is based on storytelling and characters and not on the needs of an advertiser.
Subramaniam also underlined the fact that kids are now decision makers in many household purchases and advertisers can tap into the pester power of this influential TG.
Turner International India Senior Director and Head of Kids vertical Krishna Desai also feels that kids exert a strong influence on parents, even though it might not necessarily mean that their views are ultimate.
On the issue of investment towards content, Desai said the kids genre suffers from a double whammy of an under-indexed ad market and subscription revenue, whose value is yet to be unlocked. Licensing & Merchandising is too small at this stage and is built over period of time.
"With both the revenue streams constrained there is only so much that you can do in terms of investing in content," Desai contended.
Turner's Desai pointed out that animated content transcends boundaries, otherwise kids wouldn't be consuming so much of content on kids channels. He also pointed out that the Indian animation industry is still at a nascent stage which makes producing a local animation show a huge task.
Disney's Subramaniam said the key part of any content is story-telling which is universal and cuts across geographies. Dubbing, he said, is also one part of localisation, which also demands that a content has to be locally relevant.
"There are concepts that kids embrace and not so much about international or local content," Subramaniam affirmed.
IMRB International Group Business Director, Media and Panel Group, Ashish Karnad said the dubbing indeed had a huge impact on ratings of international content.
"The ratings of international dubbed content went up post dubbing," he observed.
Karnad also opined that kids like other TGs are becoming platform-agnostic. They love characters and platform doesn't matter, he said, while citing the example of Chhota Bheem and Doraemon.
Subramaniam had a different take. "You create stories using brand values of a channel. Characters are built over a period of time," he said.