"I will pursue CAS as zealously as my predecessor" : Duncan Morris VP,Turner International Asia Pacific Research

Cartoons are serious business for Duncan Morris. As vice president of research, Turner International Asia Pacific, Morris is responsible for assessing the potential and effect of Cartoon Network on kids in the region, a feat accomplished through a wily combination of analysis of syndicated research findings, TV ratings, and original research studies designed to fuel insight into TV viewing and internet usage behaviour.

Coming into Turner from ACNielsen Media International where he was director of client services, Morris brings with him a rare combination of intuition and groundwork that has helped Cartoon Network leverage its product and make it the number one kids' channel in India. Generations 2002, the second in a series of India specific research commissioned by the channel, is an attempt to marry the interest of the advertiser with the changing profile and needs of today's Indian kid.

India, according to Morris, is a key market for the channel and the widening scope of the study each year to include more parameters validates this claim. He spoke to on the sidelines of a media briefing to announce the highlights of the findings of Generations 2002.

Excerpts -

How does Generations 2002 reflect current advertiser profile on Cartoon Network in India? Do the findings substantiate the presence of non children's products advertising on the channel?

There is a mix of both kids' and non kids' products advertising on the channel. Due to the absence of a regular study on which to base their positioning, the number one demand among advertisers and agencies was for the measurement of pester power. Over 25 categories have been included in this year's study to try and get as much products and brands covered as possible.

It is also why we queried the mothers on kids' influence on purchases of products like milk food drinks and durables, which earlier did not require the child's opinion.

How different are these findings from those of earlier years?

We did not expect pester power to rise much from last year, but it has substantially.

Like last year, Cartoon Network continues to lead in popularity among children. This year, we also discovered that mothers too would prefer their kids watching Cartoon Network, apart from channels like Discovery and Animal Planet. This underscores the entertainment and educative value of the channel.

Mythologicals do not seem to figure high on the list of favourites among kids in the survey. Will that deter Cartoon Network from bringing in more programming like the 'Pandavas' and 'Ramayan' that it aired last year? (Mythos rank last among top genres favoured by kids, trailing dance music shows and news shows)

The low ranking of mythologicals among kids surveyed seems to stem more from the lack of availability of good mythos across channels. After we aired 'Pandavas' and 'Ramayan', we noticed a definite heightened rating for the shows as against the same time slots in earlier weeks. So, there is no reason to believe a well produced mytho may not be successful on Cartoon Network in the future.

"We discovered that mothers too would prefer their kids watching Cartoon Network, apart from channels like Discovery and Animal Planet"

Star Plus is the closest competitor to Cartoon Network even among kids as well as among channels favoured by mothers for their children. (Generations 2002 puts Cartoon Network as favourite channel favoured by 46 per cent kids, while Star Plus was favoured by 22 per cent, with Discovery coming third at 5 per cent). How do you view this trend?

Star Plus seems to be watched more by girls than by boys in the 7-14 age group. Also, cartoons rank as the top genre favoured by the children surveyed, as against kids programming which comes it at number five. Most of the programming watched on Star Plus appears to be for family serials, viewing that takes place with the entire family. So, Star Plus isn't really a threat in that sense.

How much of investment is being put into such original research by Cartoon Network in India?

Although I can not give out any figures, India is definitely a key market for us, though this year we have also commissioned a similar study in Australia. All I can say at this juncture is that Cartoon Network's research investment in India is higher than in any other country in the Asia Pacific.

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