'2007: The Year of New Beginnings'

When I was asked to do a round up for the year gone by, only one word resonated in my mind - 2007 was the year of strong emergence for the Industry. It was a year when the media and entertainment Industry galloped ahead and consolidated its growth on many fronts such as animation, the kids' space, licensing & merchandising, DTH and the ever increasing number of channels aggressively competing for a piece of the Indian TV pie.

Kids' television has been the catalyst for televised animation produced in India for some time now and will be one of the key drivers. Delightedly, the Indian Animation Industry seemed to have come of age in 2007 with the badshah of Indian entertainment, Bollywood discovering the potential of animation. In fact one of the greatest challenges that Cartoon Network faced when it pioneered kids' television entertainment in India was to elevate animation to the level of general entertainment.

Local animation talent pool is fast growing and the Industry got a further fillip with homegrown animation hits like Hanuman, Krishna movie series etc. International studios have also recognised the potential available in India and are increasingly outsourcing work, beyond the sweat shops to creative hot spots to animation studios here. In the coming years, one will surely see a huge spurt of growth in animation studios followed by an inevitable consolidation.

Similar to Indian animation, the demand for original content in 2007 actively fueled customized content creation and production especially for kids. Reading the signs of the times to come, locally produced content in India would be created for a larger audience footprint, not restricted to India, offering a significant leverage of economies of scale to kids' TV players here, both local and international.

Acquisitions, whilst is a very critical part of this genre, but to be able to have a sustainable business model, there is an imperative need to owning Intellectual Properties. For e.g. the very successful original production on POGO - M.A.D is a classic example of how quality content that is well researched and creatively executed, is critical, as audience tastes are becoming increasingly sophisticated

Television continues to be the dominant and the first medium of choice for kids. Kids spend on an average of two hours watching TV and have relatively very low preference for other media. (To be fair, they spend about the same time playing at home or outdoors as they spent watching TV). Source: New Generations TM

So no wonder that we saw an outburst of kids' television channels launching in the country, not very unlike what happened in the news' television space a few years back. From a couple of channels in 1995, we now have nine kids' channels in the country today, of which two new players joined in 2007.

On a more professional note, 2007 really spelt "leadership" for Turner India, as our clear focus of the year was to constantly innovate and continue to rule the roost with each of our brands in India: CNN, Cartoon Network & POGO and we did succeed!

  • Even with seven kids' channels in the country, Cartoon Network and Pogo continue to be #1 and #2, garnering almost 50% of channel shares in 2007! Cartoon Network and POGO accounted for 98 of the top 100 transmissions across all kids' channels in 2007, up from 91 in 2006! Even the highest raters on kids' channels - shows that rate 2+ TVRs - have exclusively been on Cartoon Network and POGO in 2007!

  • Ad sales for India and South Asia region achieved a new height with 32% growth, of which kids' entertainment grew by 26%, HBO by 16%, CNN by 41% and Cartoon Network Pakistan by 73%!

Our 2008 mission is to continue to blaze the trail and the lead the Industry from the front.

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