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Viacom18's Nina Jaipuria on Nick's success & breathing new life into Sonic

Nickelodeon’s top-line has grown by 14%, Jaipuria said.

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MUMBAI: After installing Nickelodeon at the top of the viewership throne, the band of programmers at Viacom18's kids' cluster now aim to fuel Sonic's rise. 

Viacom18 head – Hindi mass entertainment and the kids TV network Nina Elavia Jaipuria zeroed in on two reasons behind Sonic's slide - competition from the likes of Sony and Discovery and headwinds in the distribution value chain.

"Nickelodeon got through (during new tariff order implementation) because it was the number one channel and had a great pull from the viewers as well," she added. 

Viacom18's top executives have now rolled up their sleeves in order to push Sonic up the viewership ratings charts. Among the high-profile initiatives the company has taken up is the launch of its 8th indigenous IP “Golmaal Jr”.

Produced by Nickelodeon and created by Reliance Animation and Rohit Shetty Picturez, the 8th IP of the franchise will recreate the magic of the movies through a fun animated series starting May 13 at 1:30 pm on Sonic.

The show’s launch will be supported by a 360 marketing and communication plan which will include an aggressive TV plan, within the Viacom18 network and outside the network on channels like Star Plus and Mastiii.

While Sonic’s performance is a cause for worry, Nickelodeon, however, has provided the company plenty of cheer. 

“We have been in the number one position for five years in a row. Nickelodeon leads with a fairly decent margin for the full year of 2018-2019. So, from the market share perspective, we are the leaders, not just in viewership share, but also in revenues,” said Jaipuria.

While the company's primary focus now is to propel Sonic into the top three channels in its genre, Jaipuria has made it clear to her team to not take its foot off the pedal when it comes to Nick.

“So the effort is to sustain Nick’s number 1 position and grow Sonic. We are not just looking at it from the viewership perspective but also from the monetisation standpoint,” she explained.

Providing further evidence of Nickelodeon’s surge, Jaipuria revealed that the channel’s top-line had grown by 14 per cent.

“As I have said, animation is an expensive investment to be in and it makes more sense for us to maximise our top-lines which also enhances our bottom-line. We have also grown our EBITDA year-on-year. We are one of the most profitable businesses for Viacom18,” she said.

The channel not only leads in terms of viewership share but also revenues. The broadcaster’s power ratio of 1+ validates the claim, said Jaipuria.

Citing reasons of why advertisers love the brand, the senior media executive pointed out that the channel has worked with them to add value via product integration, product and promo licensing among other things. 

“Nickelodeon reaches 44 million children and that is why we have these many advertisers. We have a good mix with kids' advertisers like Britannia, Parle and among others, apart from them, we also have advertisers like banks, insurance, FMCG, consumer durables etc. There’s also one more reason why advertisers are with us because 35 per cent of viewership comes from 22-40 year group, which usually is young parents,” she added.

Nickelodeon currently has Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada language feeds. Going forward, it plans to add four more language feeds in the year. “We will look at HSM and might also add the Malayalam language to our bouquet," Jaipuria stated.

She also highlighted the fact that kids’ TV has grown despite the fragmentation as well as attempts by GECs and OTT platforms to woo the kids. According to Jaipuria, last year, the time spent on the kids’ category was an hour and four minutes, which has now increased to an hour and twelve minutes.

Apart from offering over 200 hours of content in the summer, the channel will air all-new episodes for its existing shows in an attempt to become the one-stop entertainment destination for kids. Nickelodeon is likely up its investment in a bid to draw more kids to the television screens with some high-quality programming.

“Rs 30 lakh investment for an episode and a few above that, so you can multiply it to the hours of content and you’ll know how much we have been investing to produce content. We will be launching all-new episodes of every show,” Jaipuria concluded.

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