Cartoon Network Enterprises lines up birthday bashes, home videos and more

MUMBAI: Kids are in for a treat this Diwali. From Cartoon Network, to Disney Channel to Hungama TV; channels are out there in full force to woo and seek the attention of capricious kids.

With Diwali crackling in the festive season, Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) - the licensing division of Cartoon Network - is going the whole hog by making available more merchandising and fun things for kids this quarter.

One of the things that CNE has up its sleeves is the Cartoon Network Birthday Blast. As of now, Cartoon Network provided kids with the opportunity of having their birthdays flashed on the channel. Now, it has gone a step further in order to leverage the equity of Cartoon Network Birthday Blast on ground too.

Cartoon Network and Clockwork Events (a Mumbai based event management company) will be organising birthday parties for kids wherein the complete background and theme of the party will be strewn with the characters such as the Powerpuff Girls, Dexter and Johnny Bravo.

Apart from this, the crockery, theme games, return gifts and the Emcee will also be stamped with the Cartoon Network branding. A party that has a minimum number of 30 guests will only be organised by CNE and Clockwork Events for a cost of Rs 13,000.

Speaking on the same, Cartoon Network Enterprise director India and South Asia Jiggy George says, "If the number of guests increase from 30, then we will charge accordingly. But as of now, this is the price we have zeroed on. We will be starting these birthday parties in Mumbai from December and will eventually take it to Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad early next year."

Apart from this, the network is also ramping up merchandising aroundPowerpuff Girls, Dexter and Beyblade. CNE has tied up with stores like Lifestyle, Pantaloon and Shopper's Stop, wherein a shop-in-shop experience will be created. The existing Powerpuff Girls and Dexter merchandising will see the addition of skipping ropes, scooters and skateboards.

CNE has also tied up with Bombay Dyeing for Powerpuff Girls, Dexter and Johnny Bravo bed sheets, pillow covers, linen etc. While the Powerpuff Girls and Dexter range will be available by the end of November, Johnny Bravo products will make a splash in the market in summer next year. A notable fact here is that earlier this year, Nick had also tied up with Bombay Dyeing for SpongeBob SquarePants and Blue’s Clues linen.

Liliput, which is a kids' retail brand with a strong presence in Mumbai, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Rajashthan, will be pushing the apparels featuring Cartoon Network's characters.

On the other hand, Pyramid Plastics will be rolling out a range of plastic products like Buckets, dust bins, mugs, soap boxes, bath stool with Powerpuff Girls and Dexter branding.

"All our deals are for a minimum of two to three years. We look at partners who can create a fantastic product and at the same time be able to distribute it widely. The focus is to look at the big licensees who can be our long term partners and also be sustainable," said George.

Speaking on the price of these new products, George said that while the products are premium, the prices are moderate and hence made accessible to as many people as possible.

While the Beyblades have been a sold out success, CNE is now encashing on its popularity by introducing puzzles and board games around the property. When queried as to whether the spurious Beyblades (especially those from China) were impacting the sales of the original Funskool Beyblades, George said, "Yes, there are a lot of spurious Beybaldes in the market but that has in a way helped grown the market for Beyblades and has not impacted our sales. Kids today want the original product and are smart enough to recognise the fake ones."

And if that was not all, CNE will also be rolling out home videos of Pogo's live action show - M.A.D. CNE has tied up with Excel Video for the same. The VCDs will be priced at Rs 199 and the DVDs at Rs 299. "The home videos of M.A.D.will be available at Planet M, Music World, Crossword, Lifestyle and Landmark. The concept of the show is such that it fosters creativity among kids. It is a show that can be watched over and over again because kids can learn a lot while watching it. So it seemed like a perfect fit to launch it on home video," said George.

He also informed that advertising campaigns by Bombay Dyeing and Liliput towards the end of the year will push the new range of merchandising that is going to be launched.

Speaking on the revenue growth that CNE has seen since it launched new merchandising in May this year, George said, "We are expecting a growth of at least 30 per cent by the end of December. On the other hand, if we talk about the one property that has seen a 30 per cent month on month growth in sales, it is Beyblade."

What one has to look out for in the new year is apparels, linen and toys' range from the Johnny Bravo property and also merchandising for the pre-schoolers from the CNE kitty.

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