‘We hope to see greater consolidation’

Nivedita Ganguly
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Monica Tata, General Manager, Entertainment Networks, South Asia, Turner
International India
Monica Tata, General Manager, Entertainment Networks, South Asia, Turner International India

Monica Tata of Turner International on trends in TV for children

Tough competition, increase in costs and low advertising rates have been some of the major challenges facing kids’ channels in India. However, the genre has attracted new channel launches and content acquisitions in the recent past. Monica Tata, General Manager, Entertainment Networks, South Asia, Turner International India, speaks to BrandLine about the future plans of Cartoon Network and Pogo.

What are the trends in kids’ channels?

Kids’ genre’s share was 5.4 per cent in 2008 (among CS 4+, all India) which jumped to 7.6 per cent in 2012 (till week 22). Growth can be seen in the advertisement spends as well. At present, we estimate the Indian kids’ ad market to be Rs 240-250 crore.

We hope to see greater consolidation in the kids’ entertainment space. As the phenomenon of ‘the tyranny of a single TV household’ is coming to an end with kids having access to content over multiple and mobile platforms, we can hope for greater avenues of reach and success.

Some 23 per cent of the genre’s viewership now comes from digital homes as against 12 per cent last year.

How will alternative mediums to TV be growth drivers?

Over the past decade, we have witnessed a four-fold growth in kids’ access to computers and Internet at home that helped Internet usage grow to 18 per cent (Cartoon Network New Generations Research).

This represents huge opportunities for content providers to expand the presence of a brand or a character in the mobile and online space through smart phones, tablets and computers. For Cartoon Network and Pogo, we are focusing on building content that is accessible on all these platforms.

Merchandising is also another powerful tool to connect with kids. Today, the licensing and merchandising industry in India is worth almost $150 million. For instance, Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), our licensing and merchandising division, has been growing by almost 70 per cent and has added 680 stock-keeping units in 2011. CNE Products are now available in over 5,300 retail counters across India.We also undertake ‘School Contact Programmes’ and on-ground events.

Are Indian cartoons increasing in popularity? What will your focus on content be?

There’s definitely more choice in kids’ entertainment today than there was when Cartoon Network first pioneered the kids’ genre in 1995. This speaks to the growing demand for quality content in this space that now spans everything from local, mythological-inspired series such as Roll No. 21 and Chhota Bheem to classic toons such as Tom and Jerry and contemporary phenomena such as Ben 10.

Whether it is international or Indian animation, building strong, multidimensional characters is the most important element to attract kids across India and the globe. One of the most important elements for kids to keep coming back to the same show time and time again is – humour. It is for all of the above reasons that international shows such as Tom and Jerry and Oggy and the Cockroaches and local shows such as Roll No. 21 and Chhota Bheem are equally popular.

What are the challenges ahead? Is the revenue pressure on kid's channels continuing?

In India, although the kids’ genre is the largest after GECs (general entertainment categories), it commands a relatively smaller viewership pie. Also, with the rising number of channels in this genre, there is cut-throat competition to be at the top on a weekly basis.

We see this changing landscape as an opportunity to meet kids’ growing appetite for more diverse and engaging content. As an industry leader for 17 years, we’ve seen a technological evolution where the typical viewer is now tech-savvy and craves variety on several platforms. and gets more than 10 lakh average monthly views.

The kids’ genre has always been under-priced. But as more and more advertisers accept that kids are decision-makers not only for traditional categories such as chocolates and biscuits but also for non-traditional categories such as automobiles, telecom and financial services, there has been an increase in the number of advertisers that have started using kids’ channels as a means of communication.

In 2011, nearly 35-40 per cent ad spends came from non-traditional advertisers on Cartoon Network and Pogo. The kids’ ad market has grown at about 10-11 per cent per annum over the last three years and that is likely to continue.

As far as distribution bottlenecks are concerned, we are optimistic that particular obstacles will be resolved post the roll out of DAS (Direct Attached Storage) in the next couple of months.

(This article was published on August 9, 2012)
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