Panel emphasizes on 360* locally relevant IP for Indian Kids

NASSCOM Animation & Gaming India 2007: Session Wise Coverage
Anirights Vincent Edwards, Discovery‘s Aditya Tripathi and Turner India‘s Oindrilla Ghosh
India has one of the largest kids‘ populations in the world and surely enough, the booming media and entertainment sector is constantly strategizing on how best to fulfill the entertainment as well as edutainment needs of these kids. Programming for Indian Kids, was the first session on day 2 at NASSCOM Animation and Gaming India 2007 and was chaired by Discovery Communications Vice President for Lifestyle Aditya Tripathi. Panelists included Anirights Infomedia Series director Vincent Edwards and Turner International Programming Head Oindrilla Ghosh. Setting the ball rolling, Tripathi kick-started the session by bringing up the topics of the next 2 years in programming as compared to the past 2 years. He also brought up the topic of live action vs animation. Turner‘s Oindrilla Ghosh shared, “India has witnessed dynamic changes especially in kids programming. There has been a phenomenal growth. Cartoon Network started 11 years back and now we have seven kids channels. India has a vast kids population and these kids are very intelligent and challenging, looking forward we are going to witness a lot of innovative programming” Ghosh also emphasized on the need to involve thorough research in the development of any show. “Any show produced by CN is is globally accepted, because a lot of research and thought goes into it. When it comes to programming, things to be kept in mind are that one has to cater to specific issues and the content should be appealing to all demographics. The shows should be dedicated to a particular topic, should be humorous, thought provoking and should make learning fun, for eg Gali Gali Sim Sim. They should also be culturally relevant” she added. Anirights‘ Vincent Edwards shared, “From both the creator and content provider point of view, animation is process driven. There are rules, one of which is that IP must be understood to be a brand that exists across multiple platforms by those who create it. As such, IP penetration impacts the minds of the audience, who are also consumers of the brand in all its other forms. It is all about how to exploit the symbolic relationship which forms between kids and the animated characters.” “Another thing that‘s important while programming for kids is to have a business model which includes licensing, merchandising and so on. It‘s not the TV show or the film alone that generates revenues, it is also the participation of other partners and products that create overall brand value. Just watch and see which IPs succeed well in next 2 years. They‘ll be the ones that are built on these understandings. The larger brand is the thing itself that exists in the market and the public perception” he added. “One has to create a brand, but that‘s not all, you need to manage the brand wisely and there should also be enough capital to launch the brand. Simply put, if you spend more (based on participation by other partners), you can make a better product that will capture the imagination and create that “audience connect”. The challenge for India is in the development process of concepts. There is a great need for talent that is trained in pre production, like script writing, storyboarding, and visual development. There has to be an education space that fills that vacuum.” he further added.
Turner India‘s Oindrilla Ghosh
On the topic of Animation vs Live Action programming, the panelists opined that one could not compare the two as each of these mediums were specific to the nature of the content. “There can be no comparison between programming for animation and live action. What is important is to strike a balance between both, and it has to be quality entertainment. For eg. Mr. Bean the live action comedy and Bean the animated series. What matters is the genre of entertainment and the script. There should be a healthy balance and the best has to be offered to kids” remarked Oindrilla Ghosh Vincent Edwards shared that, “When talking about programming for animation and programming for live action, one has to simply focus on ‘what the brand is about? Which approach is suitable to the concept?‘ And then, ‘why animation?‘ One of its greatest strengths is its plasticity. It can be used for anything. And because famous actors can be cast together as animated characters in ways they never could as real people, it will be a good tool to create a crossroads for Hollywood to Bollywood”. Session chair Aditya Tripathi shared a couple of extremely relevant points. First is “Don‘t always treat kids as kids” Offering his point of view, he shared, “Programs should be made keeping everybody in mind. Now only programs for kids don‘t work” He next shared a chart which showed that the Top 5 channels in terms of viewership for 4-9 year olds in December 2005 were Star plus Local cable Zee TV Sun TV Zee cinema Tripathi added, “Be relevant to the local audience. People look for familiar content. First at Discovery we had only global content but now we also have local content. Like Discover India and other Indian programmes” “As per data, Ramayana, Akbar Birbal are higher rated on Cartoon Network than other International shows. India has a legacy of story telling and we should use it the best. Local setting and quirks are more attractive” he concluded.