Hungama TV in overhaul mode; to launch new channel identity

MUMBAI: After one year of launch, Hungama TV is going for a total revamp. A slew of programmes targeted at tweens and pre-school segments have been lined up, animation content will increase, and a weekend strategy is being put in place. The logo and on-air look will also see a change during the festive season.

The broad plan is to expand the channel's appeal to the tweens. Says Hungama TV programming head Zarina Mehta, "I felt that the look of the channel was too young. I wanted to cover the age group of 4 - 14 and our current look appeals to the 4 - 7 age group. I want to get the tweens as they are a big and very important audience."

One of the significant programming moves that Hungama TV is making towards the end of October is revamping its weekends with Hungama Fungama.

"Weekends are at present our weak area. We are getting our GRPs from our weekdays but not so much from weekends. There is a huge viewership available on weekends. Hungama Fungama will have segments hosted by two new hosts and will be filled with mad stupid fun," says Mehta.

The show will have the two hosts visiting various family entertainment places like malls and shopping centers. Later on, they will also travel to various other destinations and involve kids in games and contests.

Hungama Fungama will be backed by an extensive on-air and on-ground promotional campaign. "We are going to have kids supplements, outdoor and cross media tie-ups for our revamped weekends. These promotions will start around the third week of October," says Hungama TV senior vice president marketing and communications Siddhartha Kapur.

Apart from this, in order to set the cash registers ringing all the way through the festive season, Hungama TV will have a new show launching every two weeks for the next couple of months.

New launches

Hungama TV is bringing back UTV's show Hip Hip Hurray from 17 October to take care of the tweens segment. This was a popular show on Zee TV.

Another mega show that the channel is launching next month is Yu Gi Oh!, which is Japanese for "King of Games". This is a popular Japanese anime that mainly involves characters who play a card game called Duel Monsters wherein each player purchases and assembles a deck of Monster, Magic, and Trap Cards in order to defeat one another. The cards are a rage among kids in the countries that the show airs in.

Mehta feels the show has a merchandising potential in India. "Merchandising is something that we need to get into very soon. Unfortunately, we don't have the rights to the show's merchandising and hence the cards are not yet available in India but we are working on something with the owners of the rights. That way it will help our show and also their merchandising," says Mehta.

Towards the third week of November, the channel has lined up an "interactive" show called Sanya, which has been conceptualised by Mehta and is a UTV production. The show revolves around a 17-year-old college going girl with a golden heart. "Sanya's absolute desire is to help people and she will go out of her way to help people. So much so that she will run to help even those people who don't want to be helped," says an elated Mehta about her pet project.

The interactivity bit comes in towards the end of the every episode, where she is presented with two choices that put her in a dilemma. Sanya will then appeal to the audiences to help her out of her problem by giving her the right direction. Viewers can SMS her and tell her what to do. Prior to the launch show, the channel will unveil a teaser campaign, thus building curiosity around Sanya.

Hungama TV will be unveiling an extensive 16 city promotional campaign in the second week of November for Sanya, which will comprise on-air, on-ground promotions as well as media tie ups, informs Kapur.

And if that was not all, Hungama TV's top rated show Hero, which was launched three months back, is also going in for a makeover. "Kids are really demanding and they demanded that we change the look of the show," says Mehta.

Mehta is also attacking the pre-school segment. Cartoon Network and sister channel Pogo have a strong focus here with a 11-12 hour daily content.

Hungama TV recently launched Jay Jay the Jet Plane, which is a Porch Light production. According to Mehta, the show managed to garner a TVR of 0.7 on the day of its launch.

Pororo the Little Penguin was also launched on the same day, which is a Korean educational TV programme suitable for children aged 4 to 7. It helps kids to learn the values and knowledge shared by children and parents alike. Dialogue is minimal and visual plays an important role in educating children in a non-dogmatic manner, through amusing short stories in 3D CGI animation.

On 10 October, Hungama TV will launch a new show for preschool kids called Fireman Sam, which is from the DIC Entertainment stable, who are also the makers of Bob The Builder.

What Mehta is leaving untouched at this stage is the 4-7 age group where she feels the channel's strength lies.

Hungama TV is also firming up plans to launch a Tamil kids channel, a market which is currently addressed only by Toon Disney. UTV also inked a joint venture with Astro to launch two kids channels in South East Asia. Hungama TV's content will be created locally in Bahasa Malay and Bahasa Indonesia languages.

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