The children’s genre on television is the third largest in the viewership pie after the Hindi general entertainment (GEC) channels and Hindi movies. Since the category caters to over 370 million children in the 4-14 age group, there is intense competition among the three big players—Turner International (Cartoon Network, Pogo), Disney with its bouquet of three channels and Viacom 18 (Nick and Sonic). But new entrants like Discovery Kids and Toonami (Turner is set to launch it later this year) are shaking up the children’s space, prompting older players to consolidate by launching new shows and opt for more aggressive on-ground, beyond-the-TV activities to ensure children stay hooked. Disney, too, prompted by the success of Disney Junior on its existing channelis, is exploring possibilities of launching another channel to cater to the pre-school, pre-primary children.
Vijay Subramaniam, executive director, Disney Kids Network, says, “The market is ripe for us to look at a separate channel for pre-school, early stage children after our Disney Junior block has been so successful, riding on shows like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh.” As the children’s genre matures further and with the advent of digitisation, Subramaniam says the children’s TV space will become more segmented. “For us, as we consolidate our existing channels, there is a massive opportunity in the pre-school segment,” he adds.
According to Monica Tata, GM, Entertainment Networks, South Asia, Turner International India, the children’s genre is a good opportunity to be around and that’s why quite a few new players are entering the market. “Growth can come in two ways, by expanding existing channels and through new channels entering the space,” she says. “We are absolutely focussed on bringing new content on Cartoon Network and Pogo and consolidating existing ones. So, for instance, since Chhota Bheem is such a success on Pogo we are looking at Chhota Bheem spinoffs. We launched a show called Mighty Raju, who is a character in Chhota Bheem,” adds Tata.
Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and business head, Nickelodeon and Sonic, says children’s channels continue to grow 8-10% year-on-year. “We are not a niche space anymore. We have a fairly large share of the overall TV pie, about 8-9% of viewership, and we are bigger than music and sports. It’s a good sign that despite the fragmentation and entry of many new channels, children’s channels have maintained a 500-600+ GRPs (gross rating points) a week,” she adds.