interview with Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc. senior vice president
and general manager Ian Diamond |
will get into local movie production
on 11 December 2006|
Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc. senior vice president and
general manager Ian Diamond is gearing up for the challenge. He
realises Walt Disney is in aggressive mode and has gained market
share in kids television space by snapping up Hungama TV. But, as
he says, "it is demanding on the content providers to keep
up the speed."
aim in 2007 would be churn out more original content in series.
The leader in the kids' genre would also be getting into local movie
production, he says.
an interview with Indiantelevision.com's RENELLE SNELLEKSZ, Diamond
reveals the opportunities that the rapidly emerging new delivery
mechanisms and retail infrastructure throw open in India.
Looking back on 2006, could you provide an overview of how the year has panned
out for both Cartoon Network and Pogo?
Galli Galli Sim Sim which
was launched on Independence Day in the Indian market , balances the line between
entertainment and education and is more than a television show, it's actually
a 'culture of education'.
also launched SnapToons, promoting the idea of developing animation in
Pogo Amazing Kids Awards (PAKA) though in its third year, we keep trying
to re-invent it and this year we decided to change the format by rolling it thorugh
19 half hour episodes, a series that celebrates child heroes.
breaking beyond the folds of television, Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) has
launched 18 different categories across 4,000 retailers and 1,000 different product
variants in the market across 20 cities. Being a licensing business, we have not
only licensed our successful brands like Tom & Jerry but have also
licensed third party brands like Beyblade. All in all, CNE has seen a 50 per cent
increase in its overall business.
What has been the biggest achievement for both the Turner channels this year?
Our achievements have been that original productions like MAD (Music,
Art and Dance) continue to top the charts. If you look across the year, Cartoon
Network and Pogo are still the No. 1 and 2 channels. In a fragmented market it's
great that people continue to see us as a strong brand.
wouldn't diminish any of the achievements by saying that one is superior to the
other. Galli Galli Sim Sim and PAKA mean something to me but that doesn't
imply that the other activities were any worse. What I'm happy about is that 2006
has been a good year all round. It is important that we do a lot of things well,
rather than a couple of things that stand out so that there is continuity in the
How much of the pie does Cartoon Network and Pogo separately corner in kid's television
Pogo is about 22 per cent a share while Cartoon Network is 28
per cent. Also in terms of distribution Cartoon Network is viewed 26 million and
Pogo 17 million.
not only continue to rule the roost in the television space but its important
that whether it be in publishing, licensing, marketing events we try to provide
'choice' to our consumers. It's a sum of parts kind of business where you do many
things that all come together to give the flavour of the brand. It is demanding
on the content providers like ourselves to keep up the speed on what people want
as their tastes and needs change.
Do you think there is space for more players to enter the kid's television arena?
I do. What's interesting about India is that the retail environment is still
nascent, when more organized retail structures come in, the kids business is going
to radically open up in terms of new clients, new advertising partners and new
products that Cartoon Network and Pogo can provide a platform for. It's going
to get really exciting, it's only just started.
also something I am looking forward to, as we are working to be well equipped
as it happens.
When we launched 11 years ago people thought we were
mad to take the kids business seriously and I'm heartened to see that there are
others players coming into the market, seeing the values, merits and potential
that we saw so many years ago.
strategy will you adopt to counter the consolidation of three players under one
We pride ourselves in the fact that we have studied the
market for 11 years, you can't just come into the market and expect to know it
overnight. You must learn about the people you are talking to.
have studied the market for 11 years, you can't just come into the market and
expect to know it overnight'
Currently, at what stage does the theme park rollout stand?
By mid next
year Planet Pogo will be ready, while Cartoon Network Townsville will
open a little later as it is on a much larger scale spanning 6.8 acres in comparison
to Planet Pogo which is 3.5 acres. These will have state-of the-art rides
and safety measures. It will be India's first branded theme park environment.
there been any trends that have emerged from recent research?
The biggest trend is gaming and is something that has also been
highlighted in the recent Next generation findings that show that
about 40 per cent of kids are computer users and 1 in 6 of these
also surf the internet. Their favourite internet activity is playing
games (32 per cent) and that led us to roll out an Xbox video gaming
championship Toonami Game On.
The spurt in growth of kid's channels has lured both conventional and non-conventional
advertisers to come on board. Which new advertisers have joined in and by how
much has the ad sales increased over the year?
Several new categories
have joined in like PCM software (Apply, Sify, Lenovo), Amusement Parks (Black
Thunder, Prakash Amusement park, Ocean Park Multitech) and consumer durables (LG,
Whirlpool) have been added to our client base.
interesting to know that kids have a strong influence in the purchase decision
which non-conventional advertisers like Maruti and Bajaj are recognizing. Like
for instance, ICICI introduced that young star account for which we licensed Tom
& Jerry. Research also supports that 71 per cent of parents agreed that
their child influences which brand is chosen while buying television sets, 70
per cent for computers, 67 per cent while buying mobile phones and 66 per cent
on the purchase of a car. Other non traditional clients include BPCL, ING-Vyasa,
All-Out, Citibank, Bombay Dyeing and Red Label, among others.
a business level, we have seen a 21 per cent ad sales growth year on year.
have seen a 21 per cent ad sales growth year on year'
What advice would you give parents who think television viewing is harmful as
it decreases outdoor activities and habituates kids to become 'couch potatoes'?
Watch Galli Galli Sim Sim! Kids like to watch TV. The important thing
for a broadcaster is to provide choice, something that falls back on an educational
element having strong positive values. Also our preschool block like Tiny TV with
shows like Oswald, Make Way for Noddy are created to enhance development.
Even MAD helps to reinforce what is often lost out in school, creativity.
at the end of the day the parent has the responsibility to monitor and regulate
the content that the child is consuming.
What can we expect from the Turner twins next year?
At the moment we are
in the process of moving into the movies space. I will be back in India early
next year to announce our line up of a lot more original content in terms of movies
and series in India. In addition, we will also provide a platform for materials
that other people make through acquisitions. There must be a balance between international
and locally produced content hence we have to juggle around to give the right
mix so that the menu is good, making people come back.
In addition, the radical evolution of retail infrastructure and
new delivery mechanisms like new media, especially the mobile will
drive change in this space. Although, I still get excited about
old mediums used in a new way, you need to reinvent yourself and
reinvent the medium you play with to speak to people in new way.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for Turner in 2007?
on the events of 2006 and continue to raise the bar to provide quality entertainment
for kids via multiple mediums. Our mission for next year is to extend beyond television
to build kids super brands and push the envelope.
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