KAM SUMMIT ’21 | Charting the success story – Kids Channels 

The covid-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of human existence and turned out to be disastrous even for the live-action sector. Kids have been home bound and they solely depend on TV for their solace. Here animation stepped up as a saviour, paving the way for the industry professionals to come up with many original IPs and creative content across televisions, OTTs, and other digital platforms. The Kids content ecosystem is blooming vigorously as they depend on creative animated content for both education and entertainment. As per BARC, the two to 14 years age group showed a maximum increase in viewership from 60.3 billion viewing minutes in 2019 to 65.9 billion viewing minutes in 2020.

Charting the success story – Kids Channels session shed light on the success story and challenges that broadcasting channels face and the way ahead. The panel consisted of eminent channel heads including Sony YAY! head – programming Ronojoy Chakraborty, Discovery Kids head Uttam Pal Singh, Cartoon Network & POGO, South Asia network head Abhishek Dutta and SunTV’s Chutti TV Channel head Vidhyalakshmi T A and the session was moderated by industry veteran Manoj Mishra.

Mishra began the panel discussion with a warm keynote. He said, “I am happy to see the success of the Indian kid’s channel which carved a niche for itself in this global market. We don’t even need Penguins and Mickey Mouses, our local products itself can create ratings for broadcasters and feed quality content to kids. Shows like Motu Patlu, Chotta Bheem, Rudra have more potential and are brave enough to pick up rating that too with any kind of international shows.”

Talking about how the kid’s consumption patterns changed during the pandemic, Chakraborty added, “The kid’s category has grown primarily on the basis of time spent by 25 per cent in the lockdown period. It is very difficult to read and face new circumstances and consumption patterns. We understood that there was a lot more demand for varieties. Sony YAY! increased original productions and new programs and there are a lot of new genres being explored.”

Commenting on the rise in kid’s viewership, Dutta pointed, “The major shift in the kid’s category was seen after the first wave. The shows that were viewed at daytime have seen prolific growth and non-prime time kids viewing grew by 13 per cent and kids genre saw a viewership spike of 27 per cent as compared to 2019.”

Calling out pandemic as an opportunity for the kids animation industry, Singh said, “Pandemic brought a great opportunity as kids are at home and they found the only solace in TV and characters they love. For us, as a channel, we need to cater to the demands created in the kid’s genre, by giving a variety of content and scaling up of IPs. Since the past one and a half years it has been a non-stop ride for us.”

We all witnessed how the pandemic boosted the production of kids original contents and IPs like Dabbang, Fukrey Boyzzz, Little Singham and many more throughout the year. Adding to what Singh said, Dutta added, “With every show, we tried to target different genres which resonates with the kids. We have launched shows in life of slice genre, slapstick, action-adventure as well as Bollywood genre.”

Commenting about the launching of original IPs and challenges faced, Singh said, “Discovery Kids was the first one to find stupendous success with the launch of Little Singham in 2018. In 2019 we repeated the same with Fukrey Boyzzz and it was a massive success. And yes, it is challenging to nurture the IPs with scale and volumes.”

Chutti TV is always one among the pioneers of regional kids channels that rules the southern part of India with its local flavor of contents. Sharing the success of Chutti TV, Vidhyalakshmi said, “We claim pride in calling ourselves the biggest acquirer of international content and we manage to give it all in regional language to our kids. We are also tieing up with a lot of individuals to come up with local content.”

She further added, “We bring in an adequate programming mix to make the children experience both international and local flavours. We don’t want to be resorting to just one way of meeting children’s needs. We want to bring in aspirations for the children through our contents.”

In a digital world, where we have the flexibility of consuming content anywhere anytime, and across mediums, our relationship with television has changed and there has been a tug of war between OTT and Television. Chakraborty commented, “Linear TV is still growing and has its own set of loyal audiences. OTT subscription has also increased. As the genres are increasing, we are looking at a variety of content. So I think linear TV and OTT are complimenting each other.”

Sharing his view on OTT vs TV, Singh commented, “OTT has been the hot favourite topic in the entire media industry as the subscription charges are increasing. Kid’s genre will add a lot of character and flavour to that. However, linear TV is a viable business and for all the broadcasters this genre is giving them good ROI. OTT is still growing and has to achieve more.”

He further added, “There is huge potential in India. We are still serving the country. There are about 300 million kids and have been able to reach only 120 million kids in the household and that too for kids genre. The threshold becomes 81 million audiences, and there is room for linear TVs and OTTs to keep them going.”

Talking on how the advertising sector bloomed in the pandemic, Dutta shared, “In the first wave, TV remained the largest corner for ad revenue in 2020 contributing to 42 per cent of total advertising. During the second wave, TV attracted 60 per cent of new advertiser’s in May this year.”

Chakraborty spoke about how the pandemic has changed the entire working style as all are working remotely and the entire working pipeline has been revolutionised. He explained, “Pandemic has changed the production processes. People shifted their machines to the animator’s place and had to get the inverters and batteries in place. For better quality dubbing, we used iPhones. The entire working style and ecosystem has changed in the last one year.”

Warner Media has launched six original IPs in the last 18 months. Talking about the creative and production process, Dutta signed off saying, “Fast evolving quality of animation also played a large role in the formats to get immense popularity. Kids viewing habits are dynamic and ever evolving, hence anticipating and successfully understanding what the fans want is pivoted. The demand for fresh and related content is higher than ever before among our young audience which is leading us to work on so many shows parallelly.”

You can watch the session here: https://youtu.be/ofpRcm56d_4 from 3:25:20