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Kids TV genre needs to expand amid more channel launches

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The media and entertainment (M&E) industry comprises several powerful vehicles – many of which are much older than television. But it is television that commands a place of pride in the business pecking order. Today, television is estimated to account for almost half of the Indian M&E revenue and is projected to be over twice the size of print media by 2015.

The kids entertainment industry although largest in viewership after general entertainment channels (GEC), saw a year like none before. The viewership pie of this genre grew by a meagre 4 per cent over 2011 but the industry saw the entrance of four channels.

With more channels in the market, the industry waited with baited breath for the overall genre to grow. But after two launches and no growth by the third quarter of 2012, competition became more aggressive. Now, as we come to the end of the year with two more channel launches, the need to expand the genre becomes dire. It has truly been a year of more of less with more channels fighting for a small share.

In an effort to grow the pie, an interesting move by broadcasters this year has been to target younger kids with preschool channels. In the year to come, the performance of these channels will pave the way for other competitors to consider investing in this new demographic of television audiences.

Personifying ‘more of less’ has been the consumption habits of kids. Over the year, a prominent trend that has emerged has been that kids prefer watching more of fewer shows as opposed to watching a bouquet of shows. It is for this reason that shows like Chhota Bheem and Doraemon dominate 60-80 per cent of their respective channel schedules and have emerged as iconic characters amongst kids.

2013 – The year of plenty

The upcoming year brings a lot of hope for broadcasters of the kids genre. With the first phase of digitisation complete, it will be interesting to see the level of set-top box (STB) penetration thereby determining reach of all genres including kids. Digitisation will also determine the effectiveness of the current revenue model. The current advertising driven model under-values and under-prices the kids genre. With a subscription based revenue model, broadcasters will hopefully receive a fair share of the revenue pie. The need of the hour, however, is to go beyond television and explore revenue optimisation from online, mobile and licensing and merchandising as well.

However, to keep the kids engaged in today’s world, the content needs to be even more engaging and relatable. Simplicity of storytelling and relatability of characters need to continue as focus from the content point of view.

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