Sony Yay focuses on building existing characters, brand integration

Honey Bunny ka Jholmaal, Guru Aur Bhole, Kicko & Super Speedo and Paap-O-Meter are the four existi

MUMBAI: Sony Yay is focussing its energy in consolidating programming and content within four characters in its shows Honey Bunny ka Jholmaal, Guru Aur Bhole, Kicko & Super Speedo and Paap-O-Meter. The channel, which owns 100 per cent of IPs of the characters, revealed that it will not be launching any new shows or characters rather it would build on the existing shows and characters.

In a fireside chat with co-founder, CEO, editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari, Sony Yay business head Leena Lele Dutta said that the channel came up with six shows along the way and two of them didn’t do well. So the channel is focusing on consolidating the programming and content within four characters. It will root for Honey Bunny ka Jholmaal to lead the pack.

“From the programming standpoint, we were very clear from the beginning that we are not going to get into dubbing of international content. So we started working a year in advance on the creation of our characters. We were very clear that we will own 100 per cent of the IPs of the characters because of the monetisation value 10-15 years down the line. With those tent-poles in mind, we develop and drive our content strategy of being completely original, extremely indigenous in term of the languages that we would dub the channel and go into the masses,” said Dutta.

In a conversation with Wanvari, Dutta also spoke on the challenges and advantages of being a late entrant in the segment.

She said, “We may be the last entrant but we look at it as turning it around into an opportunity. There are channels that have been launched 12 years before or seven years before but we look at the gestation between the last-launched and us and we identified the need gaps which we thought could be the core of our channel. We use those gaps as the opportunity to stream the DNA of our brand. We have been fortunate that kids have accepted us in such a short time. The acceptance of our brand and characters is overwhelming.”

She further said, “There have been many characters that have been entrenched in kids' minds and that was the biggest challenge – how do we displace those characters from their mind and make space for our own. Another challenge was – how do we do something really distractive to get ourselves noticed. We look at the challenges and turned that into an opportunity.”

On challenges, she explained, “There was a point in time where the distribution landscape was completely different. Seeding the channel was extremely critical to gain the reach; acceptance and sampling were the challenges. Another challenge that we went through in a most structured manner was the rebranding of Animax from Sony’s table. So it was easier to rebrand a channel as against launching a brand new channel which did not have any distribution footprint available in the market.”

Lele claims that advertising revenue in the past year has been healthy. “The growth for us has been healthy and always been in double digits quarter on quarter. Brands also come to our channel and that helps them to realise that within our secondary TG our channel performs better than the rest of the competitor channels. Even if they are targeting the mother it’s a good enough platform that it is fairing reasonably well,” she said.

The channel is in the process of getting into the devising of large scale brand integration including associating with brand ambassadors as a part of the show.

Wanvari also inquired about the stage where brands want to come in – existing content or new IPs. Dutta replied, “It’s a mix of both. We look at it from the stage where they want to come in. We are extremely brand-friendly. We have got into a lot of on-air properties with brands on campaign to campaign basis. If there is a brand that is targeting kids and they know that the brand ambassador is hugely popular in their TG, then the best route for them would be to look at 365-day association rather than 90-day association.”

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