Guest Column: The scope for home-grown IPs for kids' broadcasters

In the Indian television space, the specialised genre on kids emerged in 1995 and has only been growing ever since. The kids' genre is the third largest, nationally, after Hindi GECs and Hindi movies. The category has seen a gradual shift with 4-14 audiences, with the genre being in single digits in 2005-2006, to now. There has been an exponential growth since then, with the age group increasing to 2-14 as well.

The components of a child’s behaviour are summarised with two very simple attributes - imagination and spontaneity. But the kids’ genre now is a mature genre and more developed than ever before. Over 168 million kids under the age of 14-years are dedicated viewers. They demand variety, new concepts and most importantly connect with endearing characters.  Be it rural or urban, there is curiosity amongst kids to know more. Therefore, we respond to this need with exciting and engaging content in a language they can effortlessly comprehend.

With kids relating to an immensely appreciating home-grown content, the scope for original content is unbeatable. Today, at least three out of the top five are Indian characters, reflecting the changing viewer preferences. Movie screenings on Indian cartoon characters rank high as well. Even if we bring foreign content to television screens, there always is a necessity to dub and bring in Indian flavours to be able to connect with the audience. Indian characters always get more traction, as they can be given physicality, context and mannerisms that are Indian and hence are more relatable. This is because kids are inclined towards situations and values they are familiar and comfortable with. 

Other forms of engaging content created from these characters is where the true scope of growth lies – the ability to create a completely different ecosystem out of television, an edge that acquired content cannot offer.

Broadcasters and producers have the edge as well since it gives them complete creative freedom – to design the content as well as decide the life of the content. And because they own the IP, the numbers of offerings are boundless. They can range from on-ground activations, merchandising, and brand extensions to other marketing activities.

The scope for reducing the dependence on acquired content is immense and this is what will continue to boost localised, original content, thus fueling the expansion of the creative talent pool. Moreover, the localised content also attracts the right kind of sponsors to look at opportunities to weave in their brand story.

It’s been two decades since we have realised the true potential of this genre. While we have come a long way, there is still a long way to go. And, launching with four home-grown shows, we at Sony Yay are just delighted to be a part of the growth journey of the category in the country.

public://leena.jpgThe author is the business head of Sony Yay. The views expressed are personal and may not subscribe to them.

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