MUMBAI: Four years after it made its foray into the kids’ genre with Sony Yay!, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) is all set to launch an animated version of one of its most popular TV shows- Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (TMKCC).
The animated show titled Taarak Mehta KKa Chhota Chashmah (TMKCC) will hit the airwaves on 19 April. Set against the backdrop of Gokuldham, the show will witness iconic characters – Jethalal, Bapuji, Dayaben, and Tapu in their animated avatar.
However, this time, the entire show has been created from the lens of kids’ favourite characters, Tappu and Daya, who will be the protagonists. "The characters will remain true to their original role, but we have moulded the entire show from the lens of Tappu and Daya, as Tappu is immensely popular among young kids. The situations will revolve more around children's issues," said SPNI kids EVP and business head Leena Lele Dutta.
Animated show that appeals to parents and kids alike
Produced by Asit Kumarr Modi under the banner of Neela Telefilms, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma remains one of the longest-running shows on Indian television after it crossed the 3,000-episode mark in October last year. It reached out to 22.7 per cent of the children's population in India and has recorded a higher viewership than any other show.
The channel mainly caters to kids in the age group of 6-10 years. However, this time, the idea was to create a show which caters to both parents and kids even in the animated avatar,” said Dutta.
The property will be jointly executed by Neela Telefilms and SPNI, where SPNI will manage the production, while Modi handles the creative storytelling. The show will be launched with around 40 episodes; the makers are already creating a bank for season two and have hired multiple scriptwriters to take it ahead. The animation production has been done by Hitech studio based out of Kolkata and Green Gold Animation.
According to the channel, TMKCC will mainly target the Hindi-speaking markets of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The channel has also planned a Gujarati market feed three months before the actual launch to enable the state residents to watch it in their native language. Colgate has associated with the show as the title sponsor, Play House is the co-powered sponsor.
Journey of Sony Yay!
The kids' channel category has evolved ever since Cartoon Network, the first channel exclusively dedicated to kids’ content, was launched in 2014. The category has grown by eight percent during FY2018-2020 and according to BARC data, five channels –Nick, Sonic, Hungama, Pogo, and Disney – dominate the top share.
However, according to Dutta, the growth of Sony Yay! has been three to four times more than the category, with some popular shows like Shinchan, Doraemon, Chhota Bheem, and its most successful homegrown series Motu Patlu.
“We are the fastest-growing channel in the category. Sony Yay! has exponentially grown at the rate of 42 per cent since 2018. We have faced many challenges in these four years. In 2020, we were exposed to Covid2019 pandemic, the year before that was NTO implementation, but we managed to sail through all this,” she shared.
According to the latest data, the Indian Kids entertainment industry reaches over 73.2 million kids and counting (India U+R, TG: 2-14 All NCCS, Universe 183 million). Due to the current situation and curbs, kids are expected to spend more time indoors which will further broaden their interest in all things new.
“Overall, the kids’ entertainment category occupies eight per cent of the viewership pie of television but receives only 3.5 per cent of the revenue share of advertising, making it a highly under-indexed category. That said, incremental growth will also be led by licensing and merchandising followed by character/brand integrations,” said Dutta.
New shows to bolster the summer slate
The channel is also planning to tap into the ever-increasing demand for fresh content this summer and will offer viewers a wide range of choices of new characters and fresh narratives this year. This includes new characters and narratives with shows like Kikoumba, Chimpoo Simpoo, Bhaalu Yeh Bindaas Hai, Chorr Police, Obocchama-Kun, new movies, and episodes of its existing properties Honey Bunny ka Jholmaal and Paap-O-Meter.
“In an average Indian family, the non-prime time is when kids gain control of the TV sets and we have always conceptualised our strategy around these time bands. It has also led us to constantly evolve and enhance our content strategy into a wide array of 16 shows to match the demand of fresh and differentiated content,” detailed Dutta.
This summer, the channel will also curate special content for its audience which includes episodic snippets, interactive games, contests, a gamut of entertaining content in seven different languages along a barrage of exciting virtual summer workshops. The makers will also have a 100-city canter activation followed by nine-city mall activation covering key markets in Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh with some engagement touchpoints incorporated.