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Exclusive | Disney brings a new wave to family entertainment

Children's entertainment is third the most viewed genre in the country after the GEC and the movies genre. The last decade has seen a lot of channels in the children's entertainment genre. There have been channels from Hungama to Disney to Cartoon Network. Every channel has its own share.

One such channel has been doing magic for about a century now. Disney is known for its animations, cartoons, content and its differentiated story line. The channel has been in the country for a decade now. Globally, they have been present for more than 90 years, but in India, they’re still a child and as this child grows, the channel also plans to grow. Disney Channel has been loved by kids in the years that it has been in the country. While the channel has always catered to the age group of 4-14, it now plans to move into family entertainment. They have plans to come up with five new shows in the coming month.

In thirst of knowing more, Adgully caught up with Vijay Subramaniam, VP – Content and Communications and Nikhil Gandhi, VP – Revenue for Media Networks, Disney India today.

Giving us insights about their plans ahead, Subramaniam tells us, “The channel has got a lot of traction since time we launched in 2005. With 3.6 Mn kids tuned in to Disney Channel in 2005, we currently reach out to 24.9 Mn kids as of 2014. This number has gone up almost 6 times. The channel has always enjoyed a significant share of co-viewing with adults. Today about 31.3 mn adults (CS 25 +) are enjoying the content on Disney Channel as compared to 6.6 mn in 2005.”

What the channel is trying to do is to bring families together on a weekend around a menu of the best content. Indeed their tag line says it all, “Shanivaar aur Ravivaar, only for Parivaar.”
He adds, “The progressive mindsets of the people have prompted us to take the next step. We want families to celebrate their relationships, exactly why we got the new shows in the local context.”

According to data, there are more families who are tuning in on the weekends. Subramaniam said, “In the last thirteen weeks, 82.7 mn adults (CS25+) have tuned in to television during weekends. Interestingly, with the co-viewing on the channel, significant number non-conventional advertisers have been reaching out to these audiences. For instance, Water purifiers, printers, washing machines, cooking oils and so on.”

Speaking about the strategy that they will be using Subramaniam said, “They are using a complimentary strategy and their intention to launch the new logo and family entertainment on their tenth anniversary was the whole idea.” He also adds that getting to the number one position or being number one was never our priority. It was always the content that we show and have been showing for years all over the globe.”

While the commercials will be only audio visual, the channel does not plan for any other media mix. Subramaniam adds, “We will be doing only audio visual promotions, because that gives a better connect to our audience. We recently did this with our movie PK and are looking for more platforms to do the same. Apart from that we will be doing a lot on the digital front, radio and the DTH space.”

Adding on to Subramaniam, Gandhi tells us, “The new branding and the change of logo signifies a change in our content strategy as well our positioning as a kids channel. We are now looking at weekend family entertainment. We want our brand to be identified by the goodwill that we have and that is what is important to us.”

The channel has about a 50% viewing share in the 4-14 age group and in the genre. The brand has been doing a lot of engagement activities on the social media and have some more planned in the near future. The channel does not intend to do any school activations as of now. It wants to keep its focus on family entertainment for the next decade.

There are doubts that adults don’t have a connect with animation and Subramaniam confirmed that according to our research adults in India do not connect so much with animation as much as kids or children do.

Currently, the kids for Disney is doing a whopping Rs.350 crore of business and they are the only channel to touch a 200 GRP level. The campaigns have already gone live on their channel on their tenth anniversary and the channel does not intend to use any other competitors channel to promote the new family entertainment. There are about five new shows that the channel plans to launch and below is a sneak peak to what three of the shows have to tell the Indian audiences.

Maan Na Maan Mein Tera Mehman: Meet the Rajas, an urban happy go-lucky family who discover an ancient photo frame on an adventure trip. They soon understand that the photo frame brings to life any person whose picture is placed in it! The guests- sometimes uninvited – can leave only after completing the task they have to come to accomplish. With this show, families get to witness a never ending roller coaster ride that the Raja family goes through with a new guest in every episode

Kabhi Aise Geet Gaya Karo: This show celebrates the unity, values and ethics of a tightly-knit Chaudhary Family. Each of them has a distinct personality and their love and respect for each other unites them. It is this unity that enables the family to face all challenges life throws at them with a smile. A family that keeps no secrets and upholds traditions with loyalty including simple ones like a family picnic every month. The show will warm your heart and make you smile by showcasing the joys of everyday life

Goldie Ahuja Matric Pass: A resourceful, ingenious, 40 year old small trader discovers that his uncle has left him an inheritance with a condition – a condition is that he needs to complete his schooling to be eligible for the inheritance. Goldie, a high school dropout, is forced to go back to school and as luck would have it, he finds himself in the same school that his wife teaches in and the same class as his very own son.

The other two are still on the final stages of being named but they are likely to be Lage Raho Chachu and Zindagi Khatti Meethi. The timings of the shows are yet to be revealed and that remains a surprise for all of us. We should expect this surprise in the mid of January. We are indeed hoping for some more tickling to our jolly prime time this January.

Seeking a viewpoint about Disney's new move Adgully asked industry veteran Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media to know more. She said, "It's an interesting strategy and will take some time to strike a chord with the new audiences."

While there might be a danger in losing the children's audience, Nayyar tells us, "Yes from what we are used to seeing from Disney it will be a change in core audience which is kids. In the need to broad base and target the entire family formally the core will get diluted. Anyways kids and moms watch the channel / any kids channel so to formalize the same may not be such an interesting idea."

Lastly, speaking about the response from the advertisers, Nayyar said, "Important for the channel to continue to address the audience of kids which is its core. Diluting the same will see a dilution in advertisers as well. We have seen that in the case of channel V which shifted to youth from music and saw a change in advertisers and advertising." By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit.

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