Kids channels travel the extra mile in 2009


Kids channels ran the extra mile in 2009, expanding the genre by 7.9 per cent as they localised and became more interactive with their target group consumers.

The 5.8 per cent share of the overall TV viewership pie was led by a 13 per cent growth in the Hindi speaking market (HSM) as the tiny-tots migrated from other genre channels. This despite various property launches among Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs), reality shows and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Kids Genre Share %
% Growth
All India
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14

Admits Nick India SVP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria, "During the year, kids moved away from news, sports, cable and music. This is because within such categories, kids have mostly acted as passive viewers. Kids always prefer to be active audiences, thereby desiring for tailor-made content that suit their viewing tastes."

Agrees Turner International India VP and deputy general manager entertainment networks - South Asia Monica Tata: "Changes in genre consumption amongst kids and family audiences, who preferred a bit more of news and regional entertainment, combined with single TV phenomenon has led to this blip in 2009 kids genre shares."

The HSM market also saw a boost in its 2009 viewership as the target group was provided with more choices due to increased competition. Last April, Viacom18‘s Nick edged out market leader Cartoon Network to become the most-watched kids channel across the HSM. Later, Hungama TV from the Disney stable also occupied the number one spot during various weeks, thereby offering kids with more selection penchants.

So what led to such fluctuations in the HSM space?

Says Jaipuria, "2009 brought in more food to the audiences and with consumers acting as the clear kings, broadcasters became more innovative and stepped outside the television sets. Competition rose high, and content was infused with various spikes and reactive strategies to pull in more audience stickiness. This led to quite a few fluctuations in the top slot."

Within the all-India and HSM category, again, there are a few transitions. While Cartoon Network continues to hold the fort in the all-India segment, the channel has seen a three per cent dip over the previous year to end 2009 with a 24 per cent market share.

Sibling channel Pogo too has managed to retain the number two slot in the space. The channel has seen a rise in its market share from 20.34 per cent in 2008 to 22.23 per cent in 2009.

Kids Genre Share % All-India
Cartoon Network
(Disney XD) Jetix
Disney Channel
Spacetoon Kids TV
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, All India

Says Tata, "2009 sealed another year of supremacy for Cartoon Network and Pogo as the clear kids‘ favourite channels across India with a combined market share of 44.1 per cent."

The HSM leadership slice, however, has a new story to narrate as with the year ending, the segment has seen a rise of a new leader in Nick. Dethroning market leader Cartoon Network from the top, the Viacom18 channel has emerged as the No 1 channel in the HSM space.

The channel has closed the year with a 23 per cent market share, one point above the new second in command, Cartoon Network.

Kids Genre Share % HSM
Cartoon Network
Disney Channel
(Disney XD) Jetix
Spacetoon Kids TV
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, HSM

Says Jaipuria, "The Nicktoon-characters have helped Nick establish space and engagement with the kids leading to an increase in the stickiness of the channel."

Also, the channel has managed to take viewers beyond television, thus making it more tangible. "And I think we did that very successfully with our experimental 360 degree marketing philosophy - we wanted to be in every place where children are," she adds.

Meanwhile, when combined, Cartoon Network and Pogo are still placed at the top and enjoy an increased combined relative share of 43 per cent in 2009 (compared with 42 per cent in 2008) in HSM, says Tata.

South Story

And now, as far as trekking the southward street is concerned, the journey was a little more rutted as the genre de-grew by 10 per cent. As per Tam, the segment that had grabbed a 4.02 per cent of the overall kids‘ pie in 2008 fell to capture a 3.6 per cent of the slice in 2009.

Kids Genre Share %
% Growth
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14

Says Tata, "South India also has very unique viewing dynamics in terms of consumption of TV genres compared with the rest of India, with each of the four states having distinct consumer preferences and habits."

Elaborating further, Jaipuria explains that southern viewers prefer general entertainment channels more than any other category as they cater to kids and family through regional characters and localised products.

Meanwhile, CN indisputably continues to rule the region exhibiting its leadership crown. Placing itself at the second spot, however, is not CN‘s sibling channel Pogo, the second in command in the all-India market, but Disney‘s XD channel that is fed on action adventure content and targeted at only boys between the age-group of 6-10.

Kids Genre Share % South
Cartoon Network
Disney XD (Jetix)
Chutti TV
Disney Channel
Spacetoon Kids TV
Source: TAM, C&S 4-14, South

Says Tata, "Despite challenges, Cartoon Network continued its leadership and sustained its number one position with the highest market share in 2009."

Advertising potential

As the year hit straight into slowdown, kids broadcasters faced an ad slump. As a result, initially kids channels were stressed to move to quarterly deals with big advertisers, slash ad rates and see brands walk out. However, things began to improve from the second half of the year wherein the category grew by almost 20 per cent over 2008.

Says Jaipuria, "In 2008, the ad revenue size of the all-India kids sector accounted for about Rs 1.5 billion. And despite recession, the size has grown by about 20 per cent to end the year at about Rs 1.7-1.8 billion."

Apart from traditional advertisers, broadcasters state that a lot of non-traditional advertisers across sectors like FMCG, investment banks and durable products are also eyeing the kids space. The rationale behind this, they feel, is an increase in the co-viewing pattern and also the mere pester power of kids who have the ability today to influence parent‘s decisions.

According to marketers, almost 30 per cent advertisers reach out to the adult audience (that is 15+). These include companies such as Procter & Gamble, Eureka Forbes, Samsung, Honda Jazz, Gillette, Titan, Aegon Religare Life Insurance, LIC India, Godrej Sara Lee, Sun Direct TV, Tata-Sky, Reliance Big TV, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Hindustan Unilevers, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, Marico, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, LG Electronics, Voltas, Whirlpool, Hitachi, Tata Tea and L‘Oreal.

And thus, CN is looking at upping its non-traditional clientele in the New Year.

Says Tata, "We expect great growth from non traditional clients as over 30 per cent of advertisers on Cartoon Network are non-traditional advertisers, strongly reiterating that animation cuts across age-groups and compelling content has legs that travel across."

Welcome 2010

As localisation almost became a mantra for kids broadcasters in 2009 to drive viewership range, the year witnessed the increase of home grown content. Kids channels plan to remain aggressive in creating more localised products to improve viewership as a whole.

Says Tata, "Today, there is a marked increase and recognition within the industry on the merit and need for localised content. Cartoon Network and Pogo have led the way in both home grown animations as well as live action shows with Pogo‘s Original Productions. As we see it, 2010 will have a stronger focus on localisation with more increased local collaborations."

The year also intends to call for a further exploration of different programming as kids already consume a wide cross section of genres that include action, comedy, drama, movies and game shows. "2010 will see exploration within these genres mining different proportions," says Tata.

Meanwhile, kids channels believe that digital media will play a key role during the year and fast become a key growth avenue for broadcasters.

Says Tata, "The real and virtual world divides are getting blurred as is evident from Cartoon Network‘s patented research study on kids‘ lifestyle, New Generations 2009. 49 per cent of the kids aged 7-14 years have used a computer in the past one month, and 15 per cent of all kids 7-14 who surfed the internet in the past one month, two-thirds are at least weekly users. In 2008, it was 10 per cent."

Challenge ahead….

Currently, kids broadcasters populate about seven per cent of the total television viewership region but in terms of ad revenues, it is just 2 per cent of the total television ad pie.

Thus, the challenge ahead will continue to be to get rid of the baggage that the space has been carrying over the years where advertisers are used to paying to the GECs.

Meanwhile, for kids channels gearing up for more action down South this year, the braving of the swords will be even more.

Disney, which already has two of its channels (Disney XD and Disney Channel) talking in Tamil and Telugu, recently localised Hungama TV in these two markets. And now Nick, the only kids channel to stay out of this play zone, is also readying for a launch in the southern market later in the year.

Says Jaipuria, "South is an extremely challenging zone. This is because in this region, kids are used to watching general entertainment channels in their local language which exhibit regional relevance. Therefore, just syndicating HSM product and dubbing will not help in creating channel stickiness. It will be an extremely challenging task to dub and make relevant content."

It is pertinent to note here that kids broadcasters are being propelled to speak in the southern language because South India comprises a substantial viewing of the all India universe. In 2010 (first 2 weeks only, Tam‘s expanded Universe estimation), South comprised 27 per cent of All India kids Universe (42.7 million Kids All India).

"Thus, by the sheer size of the market, there is immense scope of expansion for revenue and viewership," says Tata.

Elaborating on this, Madison Media Group CEO Punitha Arumugam notes that treading the South zone will help kids channels not just garner national but also attract regional revenues.

"The entry of new players in the South zone will actually help the genre to grow with each grabbing a share of its own pie. However, the share of revenues will not grow much but, instead, only get dispersed," she opines.

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