Cartoon Network evaluates language feed expansion

MUMBAI: Cartoon Network, which turned 10 this year in India, is evaluating language feed options. At present, the channel is available in English and Hindi and also has a Tamil block in the South.

"We are not counting anything out. We are evaluating our language options. If the market demands it, we will introduce regional language feeds for our channels," says Turner Entertainment Networks Asia senior vice president and general manager Ian Diamond, when queried by on whether the network was planning to launch South language feeds like Toon Disney.

At present, Toon Disney is available in Tamil and Telugu languages besides telecasting in English and Hindi. Disney Channel, on the other hand, is available in English and Hindi.

"We don't react to competition for the sake of reacting. If we feel there is a need, we will fill those gaps and strengthen our position. If a certain market is under served, then we will move in quickly and look at innovating," says Diamond.

But does he feel there is scope in the market to further fragment the audience according to age groups and launch dedicated channels to address them as UTV is planning? "It is not necessary for us at this stage. The segment-wise day part strategy between the two channels is working for us and we are able to grab 75 per cent combined audience share. And don't forget that we have 11-12 hours a day of pre-school programming content. However, in future we will see how things evolve," he says.

Is the kids channel space getting too crowded? "We are used to a multi-player environment in different markets of the world. And what is unique in India is that we are a dominant player in this market while competition is lagging far behind us," says Diamond. Besides, there is a migration of viewers in our target group from general entertainment channels which would expand the market further, he adds.

Why is revenue not growing at a fast pace despite more channels being launched in this segment? "Infrastructure needs to be put in place for the market to explode. For a more lucrative and dynamic business, there is need to ramp up. This business is an integrated model and we are gearing up to explore all areas of media pipelines to distribute our content. We are, for instance, waiting for retail infrastructure to develop which would make a matured business case for merchandising and licensing. There are lots of kids in there and there is a huge future in kids business here as the market matures," Diamond says.

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