Pogo goes for the pre-schoolers

MUMBAI: Cartoon Network seems to have decided to give baby sibling Pogo a programming and promotional push.

Turner International India recently commissioned a NFO study to gauge the impact of televison on pre-schoolers, the kind of programming watched by television and the suitability of specific shows telecast on Pogo. The results are flattering to Pogo. All the four shows, including Barney & Friends, Miffy & Friends, Teletubbies and Franny’s Feet shown on Pogo during the morning and afternoon hours were approved as suitable for young children by eight educators and seven psychologists from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore who were chosen for the study.

While the launch of the Tiny TV band targeting pre schoolers started in early 2003 was done following extensive research among mothers of young kids, the present study decided to get the programming ratified by 'the experts' in the field whose opinion would hold weight among decision makers.

The Tiny TV band, which was repeated on Pogo during the daytime, when pre-schoolers form a bulk of the viewerbase, struck home with a loyal following that has grown in the two months that Pogo has been on air, says Turner India research director Pradeep Hejmadi.

"Tiny TV grew bigger on Pogo by virtue of consumer demand (Mothers’& Children) with a fare different from that it presents on Cartoon Network yet sharing fundamental values," says Hejmadi. Consequently, Pogo that built on the Nickelodeon model, including music videos, movies and non animation programmes to woo in children, is now serious about the pre-schooler's eyeballs in the afternoon. This is the timeband which the channel discovered was being shared by the kid with the mothers watching afternoon soaps on mainstream channels. The NFO study found that the kid is often a secondary viewer, being bombarded with adult stereotypes, clutter, fast paced storylines and several negative emotions.

The network is now attempting to position Pogo as a channel that provides the necessary happy, simple to comprehend messages to young children, though Hejmadi insists that Pogo will now cannibalise into Cartoon Network but will only offer mothers and children more choice of kids' shows.

Shows like Barney and Friends is close to the school curriculum, while Miffy & Friends focuses on inter-personal/social skill development, he points out.

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