Can you Imagine That on Disney Channel India?

Anuradha Aggarwal believes the new show will help the channel maintain its viewership growth

KOLKATA: Kids in India have been cooped in their homes all day due to the restrictions put in place on account of the pandemic. As per BARC data, they have been watching a lot of Disney Channel India as it has seen a viewership surge of 40 per cent. In a bid to give the kids something new to nibble on, it is all set to launch its most anticipated property Imagine That on 6 September.

“We want Imagine That to inspire kids to express themselves while upcycling products through do it yourself (DIY). We believe recycling or repurposing through DIY can help you create a product in a simplistic way. With partners like Byju’s, Cello ColourUp, and Savlon, I think this property will stay in kids’ and audiences’ minds for a long time,” said Disney India and Star India infotainment & kids head Anuradha Aggarwal in a press briefing.

The show’s teaser shows host creator and illustrator Rob teaching kids how they can make interesting objects from easily available materials in their homes: birds from paper, a rickshaw, an elephant and a dinosaur from a cardboard carton, and robots from tin cans. For those who don’t remember, Rob is Harun Robert who used to host the famous award-winning M.A.DDIY kids series on Pogo from 2005 till 2010. Rob also is the creator behind the YouTube channel Mad Stuff with Rob, under the Sony Music umbrella.

With Imagine That’s launch, Disney Channel India expects to garner eyeballs from both kids and parents and is sanguine that its viewership growth will hold even as the country is opening up.

Aggarwal disclosed that given the large percentage of single TV households, co-viewing has always been a reason for the increase in the channel’s viewership. For the new show, the channel is targeting a larger band of age groups - younger kids who can watch it with parents, older ones who can experiment with the DIY themselves.

“All over the world, we use a lot of live TV or characters and stories that come with them. While DIY format works well, the format needed a real person. We have Rob with us for the show who is a legend at DIY,” she added further.  

Media observers are convinced that Imagine That is a good idea. “Most parents have been logging on to YouTube and signing up for skill courses to help their kids self-learn at home,” said a media veteran. "With schools set to stay closed for some time at least now Imagine That should find a large audience on Sunday mornings. Also, it probably has given a lot of opportunities to integrate its brand partners which are in some way linked to learning and education into each episode.”

Aggarwal stated citing an industry report that the kids’ genre has weathered the Covid2019 storm slightly better than the other genres in terms of advertising revenues. Reason: fresh episodes of animation shows continued to be produced from remote connected locations by India's animated producers even during the lockdown. Among these: Bapu,Guddu, The Hagemaru Show, Selfie with Bajrangi and Gadget Guru Ganesha, which it launched on 22 August.  

Aggarwal  is happy that the unprecedented time has brought in a new paradigm as far as TV consumption is concerned. “There is no primetime anymore in TV. Viewing by both kids and parents has stretched the whole timeline as well as added to the non-primetime. So, it’s very hard to figure out the core-watching hours. What we are also seeing is morning-day part has seen a huge surge in viewership,” she says.

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