The year 2017 so far has been pretty much of a killjoy for those in the TV business with advertisers putting the brakes on spending on pay channels. The kids TV space has been no exception. But Turner International India executive director and amp; network head kids south Asia Krishna Desai is hoping that the category will take a turn for the better come this festive season. Turner is all set to roll out two new shows – the ever so popular Oggy and the cockroaches on Cartoon Network (CN) on 14 August (6pm-6:30 pm) and a homegrown chase comedy Tik Tak Tail on Pogo by the first half of September. Its Asia office had announced the acquisition of rights to season five, six and seven of the former earlier this year, while the India office had commissioned India’s hot and emerging studio Cosmos Maya to produce the latter. The Tik Tak Tail deal allows it to retain the telecast rights for south Asia. Promotions for Oggy and the Cockroaches have started in June with three or four music videos being released on air and on digital. On ground, on air and on digital multicity contests are planned through its annually organised School Contact Program (SCP) but more of that later. Its campaign emphasises that it is airing the Asli Oggy episodes. (It has the first run rights to all seasons of the show; the Nick channel cluster telecasts the reruns of earlier seasons at times different from those of CN). Desai and his VP, head-ad sales South Asia Juhi Ravindranath are banking heavily on the two new shows. Ravindranath has already roped in Perfetti as one of its partners for Oggy which is making a comeback with fresh episodes after a long gap. “In India getting good viewership is also a challenge, India being a single TV viewing home and the total viewing of kids content on the kids category is stuck at 20 per cent and not going beyond that for some time,” says Desai. Adds Ravindranath: “We are hoping to see some excitement being kicked into the year long stagnant kids genre in the coming festive season.” Desai says one of the legs of that initiative is Tik Tak Tail. “Since Pogo is positioned as a hybrid channel which has both international and local content, we are constantly looking for homegrown IP which will appeal to the kids audience. And Tik Tak Tail (which essentially is a tale of a rabbit outsmarting a tiger who wants to hunt it down and eat it) fitted in with what we were looking for. It’s a fun chase comedy which Pogo kids will love.” A strong promotion drive has been drawn up to make kids aware of Tik Tak Tail and also possibly fall in love with the franchise through its SCP. The exercise, which takes place annually, will collectively reach out to close to a million students (between standards one to eight) across 1000 schools. The SCP was flagged off in early August and will cover the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Surat, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. Mainstream brands such as Dettol, Aquaguard, Himalaya, Go-Cheese and Ford have put their might behind the on-ground initiative. Ravindranath is in conversation with a handful of other brands to come on board the two shows as on-air sponsors; she expects the deals to close soon. But she is quite confident of the genre and ad rates going northwards too. Says she: “The kids genre right now is under-monetised because its viewership share genre has not really matched up to the genre’s ad pie. Mainstream and non-kids brands have been using the medium With new players in the market and penetration going deeper into rural areas, new local advertisers will emerge and the genre is expected to grow.” Says a media observer: “It’s great that Desai and team Turner have come up with new offerings on the network. It will help brands which have been conserving their spends so far to look at them as options for media buys as the shows get viewership. Overall too, I am optimistic of the offerings as Oggy and the Cockroaches is a great franchise and Cosmos Maya has been delivering winning series for the kids networks. However, data has shown that kids are consuming content increasingly on OTT like Vootkids, Amazon Kids, and SonyLiv kids and YouTube pioneers like ChuChuTV. And the linear television channels have to keep a watch on that.” Desai, on his part, is not disturbed by this trend. Says he: “The OTT market is very small as compared to linear from a kids genre point of view. OTT will only add to the experience but it won’t take away from the linear space. From our side we have partnered with both Amazon and Voot – both of whom are showing many of our shows on their digital platforms. In my opinion, linear television will remain strong for a very long time in India.” The success of Oggy and the Cockroaches and Tik Tak Tail will only help cement that faith and belief.