Zee Q, Discovery Kids to get competitor

MUMBAI: One more edutainment channel - Da Vinci Learning - is prepping to hit Indian shores next year.

Come late Q2 or Q3 next year, the children?s entertainment space will see a new player - Da Vinci Learning.

Launched world-wide on 15 September, 2007 by its parent media company Da Vinci Media GmbH - the edutainment channel - is aired across 29 territories in 15 different languages.

It takes time to reap results and we will do whatever it takes to reach out to a large number of people, says Mohit Anand

So what brings it to Indian shores? ?The Indian television industry is dynamic and growing, and our philosophy has been to spread knowledge,? replies Da Vinci Learning country manager Mohit Anand, adding that the channel believes today?s children are far more curious and plans to cash in on this quality.

With at least two other ?edutainment? channels - Zee Q and Discovery Kids - launched just last year, won?t it be an up-hill task for Da Vinci Learning?  Anand shrugs off the implication saying: ?We believe in learning in a fun way and not many channels do so in the kids? genre. We are an edutainment channel and today, there aren?t any products which use the TV medium to enhance kids? desire to learn. And this is what will distinguish us from the rest.?

With its content a mix of animated and non-animated, not ruling out a documentary-style, everything will be done in a manner so as to attract kids. The channel will target not only children in the age group of 6-14 but also parents since it?s a family-based one.

With most channels today having regional counterparts or feeds to reach out to the maximum number of viewers, will Da Vinci Learning follow suit?

?When you study Newton?s Law, do you do it in a regional language or in English?? counters Anand and adds, ?Information about the kind of subjects we are talking about, even in vernacular mediums, is primarily in English. Having said that, we are definitely evaluating the need to have regional languages - something we?ve found in the course of our research as well.?

While Da Vinci Learning will premiere in English and Hindi next year, Anand is quick to point out: ?We will not shy away from launching in a regional language if the need arises because we want to reach out to as many people as possible.?

Otherwise an ad-free channel running on the Pay-TV model, in India however, the channel will incorporate ads.

Reasons Anand: ?The channels have to depend a lot on ad sales for revenue, but with digitisation, the subscription revenues are heading in the right way. Over the years, we will see less dependence on ad revenue. Also, the kids channels might be the third-largest viewed (almost 11 per cent) category but has a way smaller share in the whole ad pie. Hence, with kids becoming key influencers and the channel being uniquely different, there will be advertisers who will want to associate with us.?

Though the subscription rate hasn?t been decided yet, Anand says: ?It will be within the dynamics of the market,? quickly adding, ?We still have to decide though whether we will start with a certain subscription charge or decide to go free for a certain period to let viewers know what the channel is all about.?

To be available on digital platforms, the channel is already in talks with various DTH players.

Meanwhile, a city-based media planner isn?t too hopeful that Da Vinci Learning will be able to get a lot of viewers if it comes with a subscription rate attached. ?It will be able to gather interest in metros and tier II cities at best but overall, it will find it difficult to garner viewers. However, it is good that such a channel is entering the market,? he says.

Marketing-wise, the channel plans to concentrate on activations as it believes it will be able to capture families in malls, museums and zoos. There will be on-air promotions, print and OOH as well. ?Around 90 days prior to the launch, we will start with all the buzz and hype about the channel,? says Anand, adding they are still in talks with creative and media agencies.

Asked about investment, Anand says apart from the minimum network requirement of Rs 5 crore, which is mandatory for a broadcast license, the channel will do whatever it takes to be successful as it is here to stay. ?It takes time to reap results and we will do whatever it takes to reach out to a large number of people,? says Anand.

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