We deserve it, says Nina Jaipuria as ad sales rates hike 25-30%

MUMBAI: Pleasing a child is a daunting task and taking the challenge head on is none other than Nickelodeon and Sonic. With the new year coming in, the channels are set to excite its viewers with surprises and celebrations. Re-enforcing its market leadership, while Nick has got back Oggy and the Cockroaches, the action packed, chase comedy Pakdam Pakdai will be seen on Sonic, starting 22 December. 

This is in line with the channel’s strategy to bring alive the thought of “Action Ka Tevar with Comedy Ka Flavour.”

“Nick has already established its leadership position with characters like Motu Patlu and Ninja that we have nurtured over the years. Now its time to focus on Sonic. The shift of Pakdam Pakdai to Sonic is a strategic move in that direction. The show will rest only on Sonic since we do not want to dilute the franchise and keep both our channels differentiated,” says Viacom18 EVP and business head kids cluster Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

To back this up, it is launching the first Pakdam Pakdai movie called Pakdam Pakdai – Don v/s Billiman on 25 December at 11.30 am on Sonic. Adding to the supersonic line-up is Sci -Fi Santa and all new episodes of Power Rangers with an entertaining array of new shows like Rimba Racer, Mini Ninjas and Jungle Bunch.

To up the entertainment quotient, Nick will be airing the fifth exclusive made for television Motu Patlu movie: Motu Patlu Aur Khazane Ki Race. “There is always room for more. The kids demand for more and hence as the year progesses you will not only see newer episodes of Motu Patlu but also many more made for television movies.”

Talking about the next big initiative, Oggy and the Cockroaches is all set to make a come back on Nick. Premiering on 1 January 2015, the channel has already created a bank of 65 episodes. This character was made about five years ago and very quickly it became a chart topper. “What we got was a silent show, but we dubbed it and it became a runaway success.” 


2014: A successful year...

In the year, Sonic has grown almost 200 per cent in terms of ratings. “We couldn’t have asked for a better growth story for Sonic. Small and steady but we are happy the way the graph is looking now.”

As per TAM ratings provided by the channel in All India ABC CS 4-14, Sonic’s reach has grown by 63 per cent and time spent by 93 per cent as compared to last year. “Not only we want more viewers but we want them to stick on our channel and the growth clearly shows that the content is sticky and the characters have already made their way into the hearts and minds of children. Our closest competitor Disney XD has de-grown and trails by 25 TVTs in November’14,” points out Jaipuria.

What led to the 200 per cent viewership growth on Sonic? The holiday season did wonders for the channel where close to 1.5 million kids engaged all through summer. The channel conducted a ‘Back to School’ campaign to ‘Be the Ranger’ across 11 cities and 200 schools and grabbed eyeballs of almost 1.6 lakh kids. Moreover, it was followed by ‘Diwali Dhamaka’ campaign that reached out to over 10 million kids across the country. ‘Meet the Rangers in USA’ was an exciting mass media campaign with the ultimate thrill factor where the winner kids got a chance to meet the actual power rangers in USA.

Power Rangers visited malls and game-plexes and challenged kids to take up the multicity gaming championship. The channel received over 15,000 entries. With Christmas nearing, the channel is conducting a sci-fi Santa contest, a month full of amazing prizes to be won every day.

The reason behind so many campaigns and activities was to make Sonic more popular amongst its TG. “The Sonic task was very different for us because it was about creating awareness for the channel in the digitized markets given that Sonic is only available in digital markets.”

From April 2013 to November 2013 and from April 2014 to November 2014, the kids’ category has witnessed a growth of 7 per cent. From the category, Nick tops the chart with 21 per cent growth in the ratings followed by Hungama with 9 per cent and rest all the channels have registered a drop.

So what has worked wonders for Nick? According to Jaipuria, the three stalwarts on the channel - Motu Patlu, Pakdam Pakdai and Ninja Hattori have added to most ratings. In a very short span of time Motu Patlu managed to grab 44 per cent of the ratings, Pakdam Pakdai (9 per cent) and Ninja Hattori  (43 per cent).

Jaipuria believes it is not just about TAM, but how the channel captures the hearts and minds of the little kids and to create the bond and relationship. “In the kids category the characters are most important to drive viewer affinity.  It is the character that forges the relationship and bond with our viewers along with engaging story-telling and great quality of animation.”

The channel conducted ‘Be the Boss’ campaign where Nicktoons travelled to each winner’s city to hand them their ‘Appointment Letters’ to invite them to the corporate office. Over 21,000 entries participated to ‘Be the Boss’.

Talking about the achievements, in the 11th edition of Ormax – Small Wonders Study, Nick’s Ninja Hattori, Motu Patlu and Sonic’s Power Rangers made their way amongst the top 10 characters.

So, what made Nick stand out in the crowd? According to Jaipuria the trend in the category has not been Hollywood or Bollywood, but it is about creating movies that kids actually love. The fourth movie - Motu Patlu Kung Fu Kings was a runaway success. It was the category leader and in the week when it premiered it garnered around 777 TVTs.

In 2014, Nick has attracted almost 20-30 new advertisers. Brands like Snapdeal, OLX, Godrej, Gionee Smartphones, Rasna etc have come on board. Talking about the entire franchise, it has attracted 105 new advertisers and 300 brands.

With holidays coming, the channel is celebrating with consumer activations. ‘Lift your Gift’ contest, which started from 8 December and will go on for a month long, is one example.

The channels have the advantage of being part of the network, which caters to the age group of 0-50 plus. “We have kids, youth and then general entertainment and that’s how we leverage and build on each other.”

For instance, the characters Motu Patlu hit the highest peak of popularity when they did the jig with the stars in Jhalak Dikhlaja (JDJ).

What seems to be the happy moment for Nick is that the ad sales category has grown by 14 per cent which is actually growing faster than the kids category (7 per cent). Jaipuria says the reason is the 12-minute ad cap which fuelled the shortage of inventory and therefore led to an automatic increase of ad rates.

Considering the 12-minute ad cap, Jaipuria reveals that the entire network is already houseful. But talking about the other side of the story, she feels the category continues to be under indexed. “While the ad sales for the category is growing, it is still hugely under indexed.  The genre contributes about 9 per cent of viewership at a CNS 4+ but less than 2 per cent of the total TV  ad pie.  This needs to be addressed and we are sure that this disparity will soon be corrected.”

The network has gone beyond the usual FCT and is working on innovations; from customised on-air solutions to product licensing and from in-show placements to product licensing and promotional licensing. “The non FCT pieces are one that not only helps broadcasters like us but also helps advertisers in a big way.”

When the IP belongs to the owner, one can possibly try and create things with it. For example, Pakdam Pakdai has made it to overseas markets and is syndicated to almost seven territories outside of India like Middle East, South Asia etc and has become a small part of the revenue stream for the channel. 

Keeping ahead of the curve and being future ready, assuming kids are consuming television on mobile, laptops and internet, the network has got its websites up and running. While boasts of 3.5 million page views, has 1.75 million page views. To top it all, it witnessed over 5 minutes of average time spent on each visit.

Keeping in mind that kids won’t always be available on laptops or desktops, it has launched a Nick World app with the Nick shows and Keymon O’Fish game on iOS and Android platforms. It has got almost 30,000 downloads.

Jaipuria feels that the challenge in the industry is to write movies in animation and there is dearth of writers in the space. “It’s the chase at the end of the day. We have handful of people in the category and for us hunting new talent is always a task. Even the production houses find it very hard.”

On the financial side, Jaipuria reveales that the ad sales rates for the entire franchise has grown by 25-30 per cent. “We deserve it and the category also deserves it.” She further says that unlike Hindi fiction which costs around Rs 6-8 lakh per episode, animation content per episode is Rs 15-20 lakh.

On the subscription revenue, the network has witnessed a growth of 15-18 per cent. “Thankfully the PnL’s are looking healthier, thanks to the subscription revenues.”

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