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Splash set to swell beyond South

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MUMBAI: What with more than six new kiddie channels set to appear on the Indian viewer's horizon, the Pentamedia Graphics promoted Splash channel, with an already significant presence in the south is now looking to expand it's viewership in the western and northern regions of the country.

So far, the going has been slow for the channel, which at its launch, had hired transponder space on Intelsat so as to target markets in neighbouring countries. But only recently it has stepped up efforts to penetrate the northern and western regions of the country.

Commenting on the expansion of its Mumbai operations, Splash channel director Nirmala Nath said, "Splash has had a marketing presence in Mumbai ever since the channel launched its operations on 18 October 2001. Now, as the channel is growing, we feel the need to have a bigger presence in the region to drive all aspects of the channel."

Pentamedia, which had sunk in Rs 100 to 120 million initially into the Splash project, plans to shortly double its recently set up team of three in Mumbai, to look after all aspects of distribution, marketing and programming, she said.

Classifying its target audience of 2-16 year olds into toddlers, tweens and teens, and the programming into edutainment, infotainment and entertainment, the channel's strategy, it seems, is to have a clear demographic marked out for each of its content genre. Incidentally, Splash was the first channel to kickstart with India-specific animated programmes like
Pot Pourri and India Folk Tales.

"Our edutainment programmes have been highly successful. Especially shows like the Y Series, The English Box and Logica, which have got us a lot of feedback from children and their parents," said Nath, drawing attention to some of the successful shows on Splash.

On being asked whether the expansion of its Mumbai facility would reflect in the channel's programming mix, Nath affirmed that the channel does have "plans to start programming locally."

"To begin with, we shall commission local producers. But later on, we plan to have a full-fledged production unit of our own here. This unit shall cater to the channel's programming needs from the west and the northern belts," she added.

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