Turner targets 11% ad growth from CN, Pogo

MUMBAI: Recession is hitting kids channels and advertising growth will be under pressure, says Turner International India vice president and deputy general manager - entertainment networks, South Asia Monica Tata.

Turner, however, hopes to maintain the 11 per cent ad growth in 2009 from its two channels Cartoon Network and Pogo, which dominate the kids TV space, with a thrust on brand value propositions to advertisers.

Turner will also focus on upping licensing and merchandising revenues which accounted for 10 per cent of the kitty in 2008.

"We posted a 11 per cent ad growth in 2008 from our kids channels. Our efforts will be to grow at the same speed in 2009. We are also looking at exploiting our products through licensing and merchandising. We see an opportunity particularly in promotional licensing,” says Tata.

The kids TV market is pegged at Rs 1.5 billion, a major chunk of which is parcelled out to Cartoon Network and Pogo. Walt Disney Company, which acquired local channel Hungama to shore up its market share, is the next biggest revenue earner, followed by a resurgent Nick.

The global economic meltdown has made clients and advertisers cautious about their ad spend. "We are countering this through our marketing initiatives and are adding value to our clients and their products," says Tata.

Kids channels are already under pressure to move to quarterly deals with big advertisers. Admits Tata, “Many of our clients, who earlier were open to signing annual deals with us, are now looking at quarterly agreements. Hence, we are looking at creating brand value for our advertisers and marrying them with our products for various marketing initiatives.”

Turner is also planning to expand in the areas of localised animated content, film production, and syndication exploitation. For Cartoon Network, the focus will be to increase Indian animation content.

Says Tata, “We have 20 Indian animation shows/features playing on CN and they have really worked well for us. Our 2009 focus will be to expand on Indian animation content for CN.”

Pogo’s focal point will be to expand their original production. “Pogo has approximately 200 hours of original content. We aim to scale that up,” says Tata.

A part of the growth plan is to ignite the film production business. In 2008, Turner had announced that it would pump in multi-million dollars to establish a production unit which would make animated and live action films for theatrical release.

"We are in talks with various local filmmakers and hope to finalise deals this year," says Tata.

Turner‘s strategy is to release the kids films on theatres and then funnel them into the two channels. "We can create TV series by developing some of the popular characters from the films," says Tata.

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