Maha Cartoon targets 65 per cent rural HSM via DD FreeDish, 2000 LCOs

MUMBAI: Who can forget the Charlie Chaplin show which entertained the world audience of all ages. Maha Cartoon, the first free-to-air (FTA) Hindi cartoon channel targeted at the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), will be launched on India's largest DTH platform DD FreeDish on 1 November. The new Maha Cartoon channel is owned by DV Group of Companies that also successfully operates the Maha Movie Channel.

DV Group's core purpose is to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves globally, through long-term value addition based on leadership with trust. Founded by Darshan Singh and Vishvajeet Sharma in 1998, the DV Group is an Indian enterprise headquartered in Delhi, comprising eight operating companies, with operations across Pan India. The group, whose revenue stands at Rs 150 crore, has varied interest in various business segments which include telemarketing, media and broadcasting real estate, Ayurveda and herbal products, fitness products, courier services to name a few and opportunities for expansion in various spheres of business are endless. 

In the sector of media and broadcasting, DV Group launched its first venture as Maha Movie ? a 24 hour satellite channel which is free to air and is in its third year of operations and going strong. Maha Cartoon TV is its second launch. Maha Cartoon TV channel has now been added in Intelsat20Satellite. This channel will be at place of Teleshop TV. 

Speaking to, DV Group CEO Sanjay Verma said, with the help of BARC's available data, Maha Cartoon TV is aiming to capture 51 per cent business in the Indian rural market  and 13 per cent market in villages with less than one lakh population. "Children in rural India have negligible option or Hobson's choice as far as freely available cartoons in Hindi are concerned," Verma said. "Although there are over 20-plus channels operating in the kids genre, Maha Cartoon will of course have the 'first mover' advantage," Verma said.

The third most-viewed genre after Hindi GEC and Hindi movie, Indian kids genre is dominated by three leading broadcast networks -- Disney India (Hungama, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior), Viacom18 (Sonic, Nick and Nick Jr), and Turner India (Pogo, Toonami and Cartoon Network). 

"Apart from DD FreeDish, Maha Cartoon will almost immediately be aired through 2000 small LCOs (local cable operator) and later through other DTH, and cable operators," Maha Cartoon business head Amit Dave said.

DV Group has been in operation for eight years and launched Maha Movie channel around six years ago. "Launching in the kids genre soon, we plan to double our revenues in a year's time," Verma said.

?The space for a Hindi free to air channel was virtually lying idle and nobody had explored this space to give quality entertainment for majority of Indian kids who do not have any 'free' option. The market size of the rural and semi-urban areas of kids constitutes about 65 per cent of the audience for which they have no other option but to pay and watch for kids entertainment or else forego the kids requirement due to low paying capacity of the family to afford kids entertainment channels,?  a Maha Cartoon press release earlier stated.

DV Group founder and managing director Vishvajeet Sharma said, ?Today, we have over 20 kids channels in India but none of the channels is free to air. 65% of the kids target audience which reside in rural and semi urban  areas in India is not able to access the kids entertainment space because of high acquisition cost of the content and time taken to prepare this content is also more, as a single episode of 22 minutes takes one and half to two months to complete therefore increasing the cost of acquisition and creation."

Group chairman and founder director Darshan Singh said, ?I relate to this audience as I come from rural area. Having established ourself in this industry, we felt that it was about time to give something back to the people where we belong."

?The channel is aiming at the 4--14 age group kids audience and will feature unique cartoon characters conceived and made by in-house production teams which created Indian characters which instantly appeal to Indian kids audience and have the potential to be popular home-grown characters which Indian kids can easily relate to,? Verma added.

Mooshak Gungun: It is an Indian adaption of the classical cat and mouse chase show which will have frills and adventure. This show inculcates true value of friendship and compassion.

Bal Chanakya: An Indian kid with a sharp mind and a strong  ability to overcome various obstacles with ease and composure. ?Chankaya Ka Brain Jaise running Bullet Train?

Panchtantra stories: This series is a compilation of short stories of Panchtantra which gives a message of India's cultural heritage and respect for wildlife and the ecosystem.

Ciko: This character and series will tell the kids facts related to various aspects of life which they are unaware of.

The channel will also air myriad variety of foreign content which will be shown for the first time in the Indian market from various countries. The content will be dubbed in Hindi, and will provide a wholesome entertainment for the Indian audience.

Apart from cartoon series, Maha Cartoon will also air interactive and educative programming which will help the NexGen to inculcate a healthy mind and healthy body concept. 'Techno Kids' as the first techno-commercial show which aims at harnessing kids imagination and making great gizmos from day-to-day items used in Indian homes. This channel will also air kids movies thus giving them total entertainment and educative solutions.

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