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Next big growth opportunity for kids’ channels is from homegrown content: Abhishek Dutta

With the nationwide lockdown, there has been a promising surge in Kids’ content consumption in the last few weeks. The BARC-Nielsen report on TV Viewership during COVID-19 also emphasises the growth in the kids’ genre. In the 3rd edition of the report, the Kids’ genre clocked a growth of 44 per cent in Week 13.

According to the report, younger demographics & NCCs A show above average TV viewership. Growth in the 2-14 age group is reflected in the kids’ genre growing. Apart from Kids’ content, the 2-14 age group is also seen consuming News and Movies. Movies, News, and Kids genres are the key contributors to the growth in viewership, even as reach across most of the genres has increased.

Abhishek Dutta, South Asia Network Head, Cartoon Network and POGO, leading kids’ entertainment networks under Warner Media, speaks to Adgully about the growth of the Kids’ genre during times of COVID-19, the dominance of homegrown content and much more.

How are you keeping up with the growing demand for kids’ content?
Kids’ entertainment content registers incremental viewership in May, as it coincides with the annual summer holidays. We typically launch new IPs or expand the existing IPs during this time. This year, with the COVID-19 lockdown, we have registered a viewership spike in March itself and have thus brought forward the launch timelines for both existing and new IPs.

For instance, ‘Bandbudh aur Budbak’ will be launched in April on Cartoon Network, while new content will be premiered for existing shows like ‘Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka’ series on POGO. We are confident that these shows, with their fun-filled storylines, will engage and delight kids by offering them a unique mix of entertainment and adventure.

How has the cessation of content production work impacted the availability of fresh content for Pogo and Cartoon Network?
Since we already had new content launches scheduled for April and May, we have not faced a major challenge as far as offering fresh content is concerned. On Cartoon Network, we are debuting ‘Bandbudh aur Budbak’ in April together with stunts featuring back-to-back episodes of kids’ favourite shows like ‘Oggy and the Cockroaches’ and new episodes of ‘Roll No. 21’. On POGO, ‘Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka’ series and brand-new episodes of ‘Super Bheem’ series will air in May along with daily marathons of ‘Grizzy and the Lemmings’ starting April.

With people confined to their homes, are you now looking at a broader audience base, apart from kids?
Both Cartoon Network and POGO have created their niche for delivering kids’ entertainment content that is relatable, backed by sophisticated animation, compelling narratives, and engaging stories. While kids remain the main target audience for our shows like ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Scooby Doo’, their universal appeal ensures that parents and older siblings can also enjoy the quirky, engaging content on offer for a shared entertainment experience.

Post the lockdown period, and when things normalise, how do you plan to retain the viewership base gained during this period?
We have a huge library of entertaining and engaging content in all top-performing genres in the kids’ category. We will continue to keep this content on-air to engagethe kids, both during the lockdown phase and after the situation normalises.

What does the road ahead for the kids’ genre look like? What are the factors that will contribute the most to this genre’s growth?
When it comes to kids’ entertainment in India, original and local content will continue to rule the roost. At present, 7 out of the top 10 shows in the kids’ entertainment genre are home-grown properties. It won’t be an overstatement to say that the next big growth opportunity for kids’ entertainment channels such as POGO and Cartoon Network will come from homegrown content.

Evolving viewer sensibilities have played a key role in driving these growth trends. Indian viewers no longer want just engaging and interesting stories, they also want more relevance and relatability. We had identified this trend a while ago and have been focusing on localising international content to better suit the preferences of our young fans, as well as creating more unique local IPs.

This reflects in our new launches over the last few years. We are betting big on original IPs, with an increased focus on local content. This includes uniquely Indian shows such as ‘Chhota Bheem’, ‘Roll No. 21’, etc. We will continue to ensure that our content reflects a combination of international appeal in storytelling and high-quality animation while retaining the local essence.

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