A battle to connect and speak the language

Want to woo the kids? Infuse those lifeless characters with some animation, mix of fun, action, comedy, a lot of interactivity and of course speak the local lingo. it?s been all about that the last six months for the players in the kids channel space who were busy shuffling lead positions among themselves.

The second half of 2007 was full of activities with every channel was busy promoting their properties though ground activities. While the broadcasters were on their toes throughout, kids were not behind either to grab what was on offer.

Based on relative market shares provided by TAM (C&S 4-14) we bring to you some exciting findings in the genre which until a few years back was starved for attention and evaluate their performance over six months (July to December 2007) in HSM (Hindi speaking markets) and Southern market separately.


Turner and Disney went toe-to-toe in the HSM and Viacom?s Nick saw a consistent growth by "practically re-launching the channel".

As things stand today, Disney, with its three channels - Hungama, Disney and Jetix - having a combined relative share of 43.5 per cent, is ahead of the two Turner kids genre siblings Cartoon Network and Pogo, which together hold 39.5 per cent.

The undisputed numero uno in the kids genre is Hungama TV, whose average relative share of 26.17 per cent is ahead of long time leader Cartoon Network?s 23.67 per cent share. Hungama TV took over the top slot from Cartoon Network in the month of June and has consistently held on to the first position ever since then.

Channel July August September October November December
Hungama TV 26 24 27 25 28 27
Cartoon Network 22 23 24 25 25 23
POGO 17 16 15 17 15 15
Disney Channel 16 13 10 9 9 10
Nick 13 18 17 17 15 18
Jetix 6 5 5 7 7 7
Source: TAM Peoplemeter System TG: CS 4-14 yrs Market: HSM

Period: July ?07 to Dec ?07 All day

Walt Disney International (India) SVP and MD Antoine Villeneuve said, "Hungama TV is all about madness. It has done well due to three reasons. Our positioning ?Mad Fun? is clear, second our programming is relevant to our positioning and third, with the help of that, we have established a strong connect with our TG."

Connection seems to be the mantra for almost all the Kids? channels. Well, why not? They have to woo the young and that cannot be done without interacting with them. The adopted baby of Disney, Hungama TV seems to have done it best.

The prize for most improved performance, however goes to Viacom?s Nick, which a year ago was way behind the rest with a lowly 8 per cent share. In the second half of 2007, it?s been a completely different story though. Nick, with an average relative share of 16.33 per cent, holds the overall third position ahead of Pogo?s 15.83 per cent.

"Cartoon Network and Pogo have never looked at short-term measures or results, even when it was the only kids? channel in India. As far as ratings are concerned, we have always played it fair and looked at long-term ratings rather than just a few weeks. Therefore, if you look at our 2007 overall performance through the year, even with seven kids? channels in the country,Cartoon Network and Pogo continue to be #1 and #2, garnering almost 50 per cent of channel shares," asserts Monica Tata, Turner International India vice president, advertising sales and networks, India & South Asia.

Turner infused a range of locally produced content in both its channels. "Localisation has been a critical mandate for us and Cartoon Network was the first to acquire Indian animation and to date offers the largest bouquet of Indian animation. We have acquired 16 home grown animations and all have been a huge hit with Indian kids. These include Pandavas - The Five Warriors, Sinbad - Beyond the Veil of Mists, Ramayan the Legend of Prince Ram, Alibaba & Forty Thieves, The Adventures of Tenali Raman, The Adventures of Chhota Birbal, Jungle Tales, Vikram Betaal, The four part Krishna series, Akbar-Birbal, The Legend Of Buddha, and Bal Hanuman," adds Tata.

However Nick remains the channel of the year with a consistent growth, without a substantial dip, across 12 months. Its relative shares rose from 8 per cent in January to 18 per cent in December.

Nick India VP and GM Nina Elavia Jaipuria says, "This year we have practically relaunched the channel. We have seen a phenomenal growth in the last year. We are the fastest growing channel in the genre."

Personal connect was important for the channel, accepts Jaipuria. "Our initiative of Nick channel Hindustani helped us in building affinity with the kids. Interactivity is very important to get closer with kids and we did that through our innovative contests like Chaddhi Baddi contest, Masti Dosti, Nick Ninja. We celebrated festivals like Raksha Bandhan in our own Nick style. We did movie marketing for Dhamaal and Hanuman Returns. Through merchandising we are presence across nine product categories."

On being queried on the top performing properties on the channel Jaipuria says, "Nick Home Cinema, Keystone, Sponge Bob have been the channel drivers. Apart from that, the 360 degree promotions across 38 major cities in HSM has helped us to get connected with these kids."

If interactivity is what worked wonders for Nick, then it did the same for Hungama TV as well. Hungama TV?s nationwide ?Captains? search is an example of that. These ?Captains? are the board of Kid directors for the channel and every program is planned taking their inputs into consideration. The channel?s focus is to develop properties which deliver consistently.

That was not all, Disney?s High School Musical 2 was exploited to its maximum. There were local songs composed and a nationwide dance contest conducted to establish this ?Connect?. However, on the performance charts, Disney came down from 16 per cent in July to 10 per cent in December.

Jetix, the third child of Disney is still clutched in single digits in the HSM.


Moving down South, no channel could stand the heat of Sun?s Chutti TV. It holds position with 25.83 per cent average relative shares with Disney?s Jetix coming in at Number 2 with a 24.17 per cent average.

Channel July August September October November December
Jetix 26 23 21 24 25 26
Chutti TV 23 28 29 26 24 25
Cartoon Network 21 18 19 18 22 24
POGO 20 21 22 23 20 18
Nickelodeon 4 4 3 4 4 3
Disney Channel 4 3 3 3 2 2
Hungama TV 2 2 2 2 3 3
Source: TAM Peoplemeter System TG: CS 4-14 yrs Market: South:B?lore/Chennai/Hyderabd/AP/TN/Kerala/Karnataka

Period: July ?07 to DEC ?07 All day

The southern TG was earlier starved for local regional content but after Chutti?s advent others have forayed into the local regional content.

The southern data saw a continuous zig zag fight among two channels Jetix, which is still going strong, and Chutti TV which directly jumped to the relative share of 26 in December from a single 2 per cent in the month of April.

"Being a part of a large network, we understand the pulse of the market and provide the kids with a variety of programmes that not just entertains them but also educates them. Along with the kids, even parents would want to watch," says Chutti TV channel head Kavitha Jubin.

Villeneuve avers, "The southern market is very diverse. Therefore it is important to consider the local languages. We have Jetix running in Telugu and Tamil since launch and that is driving the channel."

Language disconnect of course explains why HSM leader Hungama TV?s measly 3 per cent in December was the highest it has managed over the last six months.

Cartoon Network, meanwhile, has picked up gradually from a relative share of 21 in July to 24 in December whereas Pogo saw a dip from 20 per cent to 18 per cent in December.

An Interesting point of note though is that in the southern market, it was Cartoon Network that had all the top 10 shows in its kitty.

"Even the highest raters on kids? channels - shows that rate 2+ TVRs - have exclusively been on Cartoon Network and Pogo in 2007. We announced an array of homegrown productions in 2007 spanning 7 different genres like action animation, quiz, a detective series, a family sitcom and a science show. We work with various Indian production houses, giving Indian talent a platform to showcase their creations. Cartoon Network and Pogo offered the largest bouquet with over 150 hours of original productions in 2007 and plan to take it up to 200 hours in 2008," Tata says.

And while the channels battle it out for bragging rights the kids, ?they are a loving it?.


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