Animation International holds 51% in Kids Media India

MUMBAI: Japanese firm Animation International holds 51 per cent stake in Kids Media India (KMI), the company that today launched a Hindi kids channel in India.

Dubai-based Spacetoon Media Group holds the balance with a small stake as sweat equity resting with KMI managing director and CEO Rajiv Sangari.

"There has been a change in the shareholding of KMI. Animation International holds majority stake in the Indian venture," Sangari tells

Animation International, however, holds a minority stake in Spacetoon Media.

KMI will invest Rs 600-700 million in Spacetoon Kids TV, the free-to-air Hindi channel, over three years. A library of 4200 episodes has been built with content sourced from producers and studios across Europe, Asia and North America.

Positioned as an edutainment channel, Spacetoon Kids TV will target the age group of 2 to 12 years with a mix of animation and live action content.

The channel plans to pump up one hour of localised content by April-May. "We are looking at gaming and interactive reality shows as part of our localisation strategy. We will first create one hour of local content. Our plan is to have 90 per cent of animated content and 10 per cent of live action localised content built over a period of time," says Sangri.

KMI hopes to scale down its original investment outlay for distribution in the wake of economic slowdown. Sangri had earlier told that the channel, set for launch on 14 January, would spend Rs 250 million on carriage in delivery platforms such as cable TV networks and DTH.

"Broadcasters are rationalising their distribution budgets and there seems to be some sort of a correction in carriage fees. We expect our distribution costs to be lower than what we had initially estimated for," says Sangri.

Spacetoon Kids TV will have to jostle with seven existing channels to tap into 360 million kids in India. Sun TV Network also operates a Tamil language channel, Chutti TV. The genre also has not grown in 2008 and advertising revenues are beginning to slow down with the total pie pegged at Rs 1.5 billion.

?India is a very tough market to launch as it is too diversified and each needs to be targeted differently," says Sangri.

Sangri realises that part of the fight will be in aggressive marketing of the channel. KMI is, thus, tying up with various schools to promote awareness of the brand.

?We are in the process of establishing tie-ups with 3000 schools pan India," says Sangri.

KMI, which is already into publishing, events and licensing and merchandising, is also working out a consolidated strategy with the TV channel as the tentpole property. "We will leverage across our various properties," says Sangri.

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