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Pre-school kids content’s monetisation and viewership challenges

Debate on whether there should be viewership cut for the youngest audience.

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MUMBAI: Animators have long contemplated the complexity of producing pre-school content for the ages of two to four years. On the third day of FICCI Frames 2019, executives from the industry spoke about ‘Catching youngest viewers: Powering the kids network and advertisers ecosystem through data’. It had panellists BARC India senior VP business development partnerships Elbert D’silva, Sony Yay head programming Ronojoy Chakraborty, DDB Mudra Group executive director Sathyamurthy Namakkal, GroupM business head entertainment, sports and live events Vinit Karnik, Viacom18 head content kids TV network Anu Sikka and Graphiti multimedia co-founder Mujal Shroff. The session was moderated by Punaryug Artvision founder Ashish Kulkarni.

Sikka threw the limelight over the issue that the industry had been facing since the start and the reason why the kids genre is under-indexed. She said that at first it was a question of finance and so the industry depended on acquired content and later realised the need to produce home-grown content. Parents also exert some control over what the kid watches. A kid may have no issue with Dora being Indian or not, but it is the parents who demand local content. They would want their kids to watch localised content. “Kids from age five demand local content, but in case of kids from the age group of 0-2, the parents are the gatekeepers,” she concluded.  

She further added that now is the time that we need to cater to specialised content. “If you look at our Nick Jr. channel, it has grown three to four times this year. But unfortunately, if you look at the overall programming, we don’t get viewership of the two to fourteen years age group. And that is why there is a lack of pre-schooling content,” she said.

On the other hand, Shroff said that there is also a placement issue. He said, “If you look at the viewing pattern, as the child evolves these days, it is on multiple devices. But some age groups still prefer TV.” Kids aged 5-6 or 9-10 tend to consume content on their parents mobile phones or any other device but a 2-year-old kid still watches TV.

Chakraborty explained that pre-school programming is only justified if it can be monetised. “If you look at our category, one-fourth share is GECs but the revenue share for kids category is one-tenth. Hence the revenue here is very less and therefore, broadcasters are not creating content,” he said. If BARC were to provide some viewership cuts for the pre-school audience rather than keep it as a part of the entire kids genre, broadcasters will be able to curate better content.

Agreeing with him, Karnik said that it would be difficult to strategise programming for the pre-schooling kids as the category as a whole is under-indexed in terms of advertising. Despite witnessing a hike in ratings, revenues are increasing at a snail’s pace.

Namakkal chipped in with a different standpoint. He said that the industry shouldn’t get greedy about data because there is already information overload. “One-third of kids consume one and a half hours of video on TV screens. But while we talk about advertising revenue, it will never be equal to viewership share,” he explained.

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