Sony YAY! turns five! New IP, films, on-ground activations, business head Leena Lele Dutta reveals summer plans and marketing initiatives 

Leena Lele Dutta

Sony YAY! is native to some of the most beloved characters like Honey Bunny, Taarak Mehta, Obuchama and many more which have always been the secret recipe for the channel to regain one of the key positions in the kid’s category. The broadcaster successfully completed five years and stepped into sixth year with a lot of new plans, offerings and strategies. 

Talking to Animation Xpress, Sony YAY! business head Leena Lele Dutta said, “The journey was extremely exhilarating, challenging as we are the last entrant in this category and the business of kid’s entertainment is not even in the entire Sony Network. We had to put our thinking hats on it and start the building blocks through brick and mortar right from the start. If you see in these five years Sony YAY! has achieved many great leaps. Before the pandemic we were in third position and we had setbacks during the first wave of Covid, then we corrected our cause and designed our programming for coming up at the first position. It is a momentous and joyous time for us as we enter our sixth year, and hopefully from sixth year onwards it will be a new narrative for us and the business.”

Commenting on the change in kids consumption pattern and how gaming has become a new portal of entertainment to kids, Dutta mentioned, “Kids’ content consumption pattern and their choices are changing. As they are exposed to a variety of OTT platforms their content consumption is not limited to television but also across all mediums. During the pandemic major shift happened was kids adaptation to gaming, and it is one of the categories next to edutech which has been the greatest beneficiary during the pandemic. Today gaming is inherent to every child’s daily entertainment experience. Over the years I think these will be the focus points – our IPs will be interacting with kids through games, YouTube and more. Our touch point always is to make Sony YAY! available to kids on all platforms.”

With an aim to bring entertainment to the forefront of its summer offering, the channel brings brand new episodes of the iconic shows – Oggy and the Cockroaches and Obachhama – Kun. Moreover, the channel doubled the dose of entertainment with two first ever movies from the show – Taarak Mehta Ka Chhota Chashmah, and added new episodes of the popular show. “As summer is one of our tentpole periods, unfortunately in the last two years summer has coincided with the first and second wave of the covid and later we launched the new shows and episodes during festive months. Lot of our shows picked up during Diwali, there was a hike in viewership and our shows like Obachhama – Kun, Taarak  made us to top the list in this category. So this summer will be a step forward for us,” said the business head.

The channel is also planning to launch its new original animated IP Ha.Go.La  which amps up fun, adventure and friendship starring the adventures of three friends Hathgola, Goli and Latha. Dutta said, “Our brand new show Ha.Go.La is very different and unique from other available contents in the kids category. It will explore and approach the kids in its own style.”

As covid situation is getting better, the broadcaster is planning many on-ground marketing initiatives and they are also focusing on digital campaigns to make their screen appearance more enhanced to the kids through all available digital platforms. Dutta mentioned, “For the last two years due to pandemic our on-ground marketing activities came to halt, but now we are planning to go full-fledged on-ground by making our characters travel across the country and promoting and engaging with the kids through van activations. Apart from that our mall activations are goin on, we are also doing ATL and BTL by making Oggy and Obuchama popular by performing across other channels and platforms. We are also reaching out to parents and kids through influencers.”

Sony YAY! has an exclusive partnership with KidZania, wherein kids in Mumbai and Delhi will get a chance to interact and form deeper connections with their favourite toons via a specialized interactive city for kids. In addition, kids’ can also engage with their favourite toon Oggy in over 70 city canter activity across the length and breath of the country, mall activations across metros. The engagement will also extend on digital platfroms, including over 10 mobile games, contests and exclusive watch parties.

The broadcaster is also planning to license their IP to OTT like Netflix and Amazon Prime, however the channel holds a robust content in YouTube making it a kid’s favourite channel.

Sony YAY! endeavors to understand its young audiences and their choices to deliver them a wholesome entertainment experience. With an aim to share its learnings on its anniversary, the channel is all set to present its first ever survey- Searchlight 2022.