Another kids channel PowerKidz on the horizon

MUMBAI: If 2003 was the year for news channels, this year may well turn out to be that for kids' channels. 

Earlier there were just three in Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Splash (though the uncharitable would say the other two hardly count) providing kids with their daily dose of entertainment. Now the competition looks to be toughening and how with another kids channel wannabe having thrown its hat in the ring.

Data Quest Entertainment (DQE), soon to launch as the Indian marketing and distribution arm for a conglomerate of independent animation studios in the US, has drawn up plans to launch a kids' channel - PowerKidz.

DQE claims to be a pioneer in the multimedia & animation industry, specializing in high quality 2D animation, 3D animation, & gaming software for TV, movies, web & interactive software tools. 

Targeting a launch in the last quarter of 2004 (post-Diwali), the company intends to offer fare that is a combination of animation and live action programming. "Within a period of six months the company plans to create and collate the programming and create the interstitials for the channel," offers DQE's marketing advisor Pratik Basu.

According to Basu, former CEO of Buena Vista Television, "there's always space for quality, more so, if it's affordable."

However, that is all in the future. DQE formally makes its entry on Indian television with Saahasa Baluru (Adventurous Kids) on ETV Telugu. The show launches on 31 January (next Saturday). "The programmes on ETV are a teaser trailer of what DQE is all about and has access to. It's only the tip of the iceberg," says Basu.

Basu says that DQE is in advanced talks with one of the big Hindi entertainment channels for showcasing its programming and will be making an announcement in this regard within the next ten days.

Touted as the "one-stop shop" to a veritable storehouse of children's programming, DQE has tied up with a number of independent content providers that include EM TV, Magma films, Comet Entertainment, Dream TV, Stanley Media, Mercury Film Works, Nelvana Productions, Cinar Animation, Amberwood Entertainment, Neptuno Animation, and Alphanim.

Leveraging the strength of its association with these international studios, DQE also plans to launch itself as their marketing and distribution arm in India in the months to follow, says Basu.

DQE claims to have a resource bank comprising management and animation professionals supported by the latest digital facilities. DQE also offers traditional flash animation and co-production service company in India today.

If the launch of Powerkidz goes ahead as planned, then Indian television may well end 2004 with as many as four new kids channels on the block. Cartoon Network sibling Pogo launched on 1 January. Then there is UTV which is targeting a mid-year launch for its channel while Sony Entertainment will be bringing in the Animax sometime this year. And of course there is the "Little Big Mouse" - The Disney Channel - which is slated to enter Indian air space in the last quarter of 2004.

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