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Nickelodeon strengthens Sonic with 'Shiva'; plans 70-80 hrs of original content

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MUMBAI: Viacom 18’s children’s network Nickelodeon has made a bold move by placing Nick’s iconic teen adventure program, Shiva as part of Sonic’s programming henceforth. The change is in line with Nickelodeon’s need for a strong second channel. “The idea is that in a couple of years Sonic grows to a market share that Viacom18 can boast of two strong kids channels within its network,” says Viacom18’s kids cluster EVP and business head Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

Fresh episodes of the popular teen adventure comedy series that soared to fame immediately after its launch in December 2015 will now air on Sonic, Nickelodeon’s sister channel that caters to pre-teens, teens and young adults. When asked if the network has measured the set back this move may cost the show’s viewership,Jaipuria states,“Looking at it from the show’s perspective, we have grown Shiva to an extent that it has loyal viewers, whom we hope to take to Sonic.  Because we are not dependent on any one show, we are expecting Ninja Hatori, Shaun The Sheep, Oggy and the Cockroaches and Motu Patlu to take care of Nick. We are hopeful that in spite of Shiva, Nick will retain its position in the ratings chart.” “Shiva lovers who are used to seeing the show on Nick and want to watch new episodes will have to come on Sonic,” Jaipuria added.  

To carry this bold move forward Nickelodeon has also planned for an aggressive mass media campaign that will not only span across Viacom 18’s own networks, but other broadcasting network as well. “Not just Viacom18 or Nick as a network but we are looking at Star India, Sab TV and Zee TV to take this news to as many households as possible. Its is important to create an awareness that Shiva has moved from  Nick to Sonic,” Jaipuria revealed while speaking on the marketing initiatives.

In fact, in order to not dilute this communication, the Network is withholding from launching any new shows this summer, though more new and original characters are in making in the creative factory for the latter part of the year. However, the marketing initiative will also speak of the new episodes of the major shows that are to hit the screens this summer.

After mass media, print and radio, the network will also look at heavy engagement outside of television, Jaipuria shares.  Nickelodeon has partnered with malls like Infiniti, Pantaloons, Funcity, etc., to expand its on ground footprint. Van activations are also in store in about 25 tier II and tier III towns and cities for a month. Marketing initiatives will also be present in cinemas during launches of Jagga Jasoos and Housefull 3 that are soon to release.  

The programming timeline vacuum left by Shiva in Nickelodeon will be filled up by brand new episodes of Ninja Hattori, Motu Patlu, Oggy and the Cockroaches and Shaun The Sheep. Apart from this, the network also has plans to release the full length feature Motu Patlu In Double Trouble, the 10th movie in line after a nine movie marathon on digital. Nickelodeon plans to go all guns blazing in promoting the fresh content including innovative watch and win contests, which will also have a digital leg to it. Overall there will 70 to 80 hours of original content on Nickelodeon in its summer programming.

With such a strong summer line up, Nickelodeon expects to sustain Nick’s number one position in the genre, while at the same time grow Sonic with Shiva. “We have always been a  very brave franchise. We have taken all the risks possible. We have started off by creating original shows in India without knowing if they will work or not. But we are risk takers and will go on to create new trends like that,” Jaipuria signs off as industry wonders if this disruptive strategy will work for Nickelodeon like past disruptions always have.

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