Television

Sony Yay tests Bengali, Malayalam feeds

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MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks’ kids channel is making strides within a year of launch. Sony Yay plans to add Bengali and Malayalam audio feeds. It already has feeds in Tamil and Telugu.

The FICCI KPMG report 2018 states that there has been increased interest across broadcasters to be able to provide better quality and fresher content to regional consumers. It also suggests that the increase in weightage to rural India by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had a positive impact on the kids’ genre, which saw a jump in absolute terms of viewership numbers in 2017 compared to the previous year.

The channel has started its audio feed testing from Asiasat7 satellite at 105.5 degrees east and will be available on West Bengal’s and Kerala’s main cable network and paid direct-to-home (DTH) services.

Reports suggest that the kids’ category is growing at 8 per cent in urban and 6 per cent in rural in terms of viewership. It is the biggest category after GEC (general entertainment channel) and movie in the television business. 

Sony owns the intellectual property (IP) rights for all the shows to squeeze out all the monetary benefits, including merchandising. Though Sony was ready to shell out some money for dubbed or acquired content, it could not find one with a large repertoire of episodes (more than 100) and neither did any content fit the channel’s bill.

Keeping in mind the demographics, the channel abstained from keeping it English-centric. What makes it more challenging is that BARC found just 14 per cent kids watching kids content while the rest co-viewed with elders. Earlier, in an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, Sony Pictures Network India kids’ genre business head Leena Lele Dutta said, “We wanted to remain indigenous, home-grown and local.”

BARC data also shows that in its first four weeks of launch (week 20-23 2017), the channel had 25,011 average impressions (000s) sum while the number changed to 22,100 impressions (000s) sum in week 39-42 2017 for all India age 2-14. Despite the decline, it shows that the initial impressions haven’t faded away.

Sticking to its business mantra, the channel tied up with local creators for four original animation series—Guru aur Bhole, Sab Jholmaal Hai, Paap-O-Meter and Prince Jai aur Dumdaar Viru—for 52 episodes per show. A fifth show, The Fab 5 – Initial Tango, was released last Christmas and the sixth original will be launched this year. “Slowly, we will build new stories and characters to resonate with the kids of today,” added Lele.

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