"Kids' entertainment space has tremendous untapped potential" : Purnendu Bose - Hungama TV chief operating officer Purnendu Bose

Hungama TV, which marks its official launch Sunday, 26 September, will have to do battle with strongly branded international kids channels. Aimed at the 4-14-year-olds, the channel hopes to benefit from its local identity as a channel "made by Indian kids, for Indian kids."

In an interview with Hungama TV chief operating officer Purnendu Bose's Manisha Bhattacharjee, talks to the man on the channel's growth plans.


Why did you decide on Hungama TV?

In India, children account for 18.7% of the world's kids' population. Moreover, one-third of our country's population is below 15 years of age. The kids' entertainment space has tremendous untapped potential. It is a huge segment and offers a bigger addressable audience than all of UK and Western Europe put together. While the UK has over 20 kids channel catering to an audience that is less than a tenth of the Indian audience, India has merely three foreign kids' channels. In the absence of a single 'Made in India' kids entertainment channel, Hungama TV will carve a niche for itself by being the country's first kids channel with localized content in Hindi for 50 million Indian kids spread across 44 million Cable and Satellite homes.

Moreover, UTV has been a pioneer and a prolific creator of content for kids segment. We have produced some successful kids programming - Mathemagic in 1987 for DD, Snakes & Ladders in '92 for Zee, and now Shakalaka Boom Boom on Star Plus.

What kind of programming will be aired on the kids' channel?

We will offer multi genre programming and go beyond animation. Positioned as a purely entertainment channel targeted at Indian kids between the age group of four -14 years, Hungama TV has a pot-pourri of drama, adventure, sci-fi, game shows, comedy, animation, fantasy and movies.

What are the driver programmes for each of the segments that you are targeting?

Chattar Pattar Hour is targeted at pre-school viewers while Halla Gulla Hour (from 5 pm to 6 pm) is a virtual playground experience for the older group -eight to 14 years. This is followed by Non-Stop Dhamaka and Ulta Pulta Club featuring live action game shows, comedy, science fiction, and adventures. Abracadabra Spell & Movies are targeted at family viewing along with the Kids for late evening hours, as India is mostly a single TV home. Some of the interesting programmes includes Full Toss, a cricket-based show which would have star cricketers like Harbajan Singh, Parthiv Patel and Ashish Nehra leading the school cricket team in galli cricket. There is no LBW's, no leg byes and it's a complete Full Toss. Gol Gol Gullam, a game show, provides absolute thrills, shot on a giant ferries wheel. And there is Tiger, a tale of a magic car that does out of the world things, and Noddy and Daddy, an emotional tale of a father-son relationship.

"The preferred language of viewing is Hindi across all age groups in East, West and North"

Are you looking at international or Indian movies as well?

Indian kids have minimal exposure to good international movies in their genre. We are, thus, showcasing movies like The Undercover Kid, Wind Runner, Sally Marshall Is Not An Alien, Just In Time and Amy. Yes, we are also open to Hindi movies like Makkid. We are also looking at regional movies which will be dubbed in Hindi. The telecast will be at 9 pm, a time band based on our research.

Did you model Hungama TV based on research?

Research has been an integral part of the backbone of Hungama TV. Having partnered with AC Nielsen, we commissioned primary research across 10 top TRP cities, covering a sample size of over 7,000 in the age group of 4 to 18 years kids.

Some of the findings are as follows:

.An average child watches TV for about 3 hours on weekdays and 3.7 hours in weekends.

.The time spent in front of television goes up with age.

.The preferred language of viewing is Hindi across all age groups in East, West and North.

What were the initial findings of the research on the basis of the kids' preference?

Research reflected that significant percentage of kids indicate no loyalty to any channel. Substantial percentage of the cartoon loyalists move out regularly in search of variety kids entertainment. Hungama TV intends to fill that need gap. The challenge is to understand children's logic and try and meet their rising quest for variety programming.

Are you using any research agency to monitor the performance of the channel?

AC Nielsen has been assisting us with research on the channel since inception, be it in selection of the channel's name, programming and viewing habits. We have an on-going relationship and expect that they would partner us in the future

What is the role that will be played by the 20 captains after the launch? Will they also find their presence on the small screen?

The 20 final winners - the Hungama TV Captains - will literally run Hungama TV. They will play a decisive force in all matters related to the channel's programming, marketing programming, packaging, promotion, conceptualising and merchandising. The Hungama TV captains Hunt will be telecast on the channel soon, for all to see. Besides, we are exploring possibilities of featuring the kids on air.

What modifications were made after the programmes were screened to them?

The pre-launch campaign is based on quantitative research. The programmes were shown and the Hungama TV captains readily accepted them. But there were several movies which we had to dump because they were not appreciated by the captains. So there was a substantial value addition from the kids when it came to movie selection. The content that came out was actually filtered through 7,000 kids who formed our quantitative sample base.

Being a new channel, how do you intend to sell the air-time to advertisers?

UTV, which has experience in selling air time, will be handling our ad sales. We have existing relationships with advertisers. Being a kids channel, we can provide a vehicle for several product categories.

Do you have any tie with advertisers for in-serial placements?

Innovations and in-programme placements are the emerging trends and we are quite open to it. Actually, going forward, this can be a differentiator as we have the advantage of doing in-programme placement because most of our content is produced in India. Of course, without compromising on the quality of our programming.

"There was a substantial value addition from the kids' when it came to movie selection"

What on-ground activities have you lined up?

Presently, a personality development workshop is underway across 11 cities, exclusively for the children of cable operators with renowned magician Satish Deshmukh. Hungama TV also recently tied up with Dominos pizza to create India's largest pizza - measuring 26 inches - to mark its launch on 26 September. Going forward, there will be many such on-ground activities not only to promote our channel but also to provide pure fun and entertainment to the Indian kids.

Could you elaborate on the music video?

The music video encapsulates the spirit of Hungama TV through the words and a melody of Dr. Palash Sen. It is differently stylized by using a combination of live action and animation in bright, vibrant colours, similar to our logo.

What about the channel logo?

It is a simple, attractive design that symbolizes freshness, joy and vibrancy. It is a fun filled identity that will appeal to the kids. Like all our efforts so far our focus has been kids - even in logo development. The colour palette is a fusion of contemporary shades including a bright orange conveying happiness, warmth, and olive green communicating harmony, prosperity, and efficiency.

What is the current uplinking status?

We had applied five months back, but there has been a delay in getting the license from the information & broadcasting ministry. We have the back up plan of uplinking from Singapore. This, however, is a temporary arrangement. We expect to obtain clearance soon.

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