Nickelodeon today has the biggest library of home-grown kids’ content: Anu Sikka
Leading the local IP content game with innovation in its DNA, Nickelodeon is all set to launch its 11th home grown animated IP – ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’. Powered by Phillips, in association with Pediasure and Flipkart Shopsy, ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’ brings alive the epic sibling banter that happens in every family and is all set to onboard kids on a journey of unparalleled tongue-in-cheek comedy and the tug of war between siblings. The show preimires from October 18, 2021 and will air from Monday to Friday at 10 am on Nickelodeon.
With local home-grown Nicktoons such as ‘Happy & Pinaki – The Bhoot Bandhus’, ‘Ting Tong’, ‘Golmaal Jr.’, ‘Motu Patlu’, ‘Shiva’ and ‘Rudra’, to name a few, Nickelodeon has introduced kids to new genres of entertainment. The last IP launched by Nickelodeon, ‘Happy & Pinaki – The Bhoot Bandhus’, was also a runaway hit amongst kids.
With 700+ hours of local content, the franchise, today dominates the kids’ space with winning IPs and has established itself as an undisputed category leader. In conversation with Adgully, Anu Sikka, Head - Creative, Content & Research, Kids TV Network, Viacom18, speaks about the new IP launch by Nickelodeon, performance of the kids’ genre during and post lockdown period and much more.
What is the concept of this new IP that has been launched by Nickelodeon?
‘Chikoo aur Bunty’ is all about fun and light-hearted sibling rivalry. The show highlights the one-upmanship between the two siblings and their bitter-sour relationship. The series will bring alive the epic sibling banter that happens in every family. The show is a slice of life, a banter between the two siblings where each of them believe that the other sibling is the most favoured one amongst them. When the parents go against them, both these brothers manage to find their way out. This is something that all of us have experienced, whether when we were kids or when we see our own kids. The show encapsulates all those fights and emotions that two siblings undergo, whether it is between two brothers or between brothers and sisters. The show will take the kids through a journey of unparalleled tongue-in-cheek comedy and the tug of war between siblings.
Which markets and TG do you plan to target with this show?
We believe that this is a show which would appeal very well to a 6+ audience as they will be able to relate to this particular show very easily because it is something that we experience every day at our home. The defined target audience for us is 2-14 years old, but I will not be surprised if kids older than 14 years relate and identify with the show and these characters. We are looking at a pan India market and the concept and the characters have a universal appeal to them, thus diminishing the rural and urban divide. We create all our shows and characters with an intention to create a pan India appeal and ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’ is going to be no exception. The show will air starting October 18, Monday to Friday at 10 am on Nickelodeon.
Will this show be available in multiple languages?
Nickelodeon is available in eight different regional languages. When we create a show, our intention is to have a pan India appeal and, therefore, all our shows are dubbed in all eight languages both on Nickelodeon and Sonic.
How has the kids’ genre performed post the pandemic period? What trends did you observe in this genre as well as the targeted audience?
During the lockdown, of course our viewership rose exponentially, but today we have corrected from those highs, but are still above pre-pandemic levels. As far as trends are concerned, the beauty of this particular category is that the trends have changed extremely rapidly in the past 3-4 years. One trend that I would definitely like to talk about is, earlier we observed that kids, as viewers, were not willing to experiment with different genres, therefore we had only few selective formats and genres that we used to make content in, because that is what used to become popular with the children. However, in the past 2-3 years, we have observed that kids are now looking for something that they have not seen in the past. They are willing to watch different genres which are absolutely new to them.
Today, verbal banter is something which is very popular amongst the 7-8 year old children. Kids enjoy the verbal humour as it is more dialogue oriented. They remember punch lines which grab attention and are willing to experiment with newer categories and genres. The viewers are evolving and maturing because now they are seeing so much content that their taste is also evolving. Our new IP, ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’, happens to be the same because it has a lot of verbal banter. It is not hardcore physical humour, that slapstick comedy that one is used to watching. So, that is one trend which we as content makers have seen.
Also, there is hunger for new content. Earlier, if you had created 13 or 26 episodes in a year, you could continue to repeat, and the children would just love to watch those same episodes again and again. Even virtually, you could survive for a year with one of those 13 to 26 episodes today. Today, they are demanding far more new episodes, even of their favourite characters. So, for Motu-Patlu, we had to create from 39 to 5,032 episodes. Today, consumption of this repeat pattern is not as high as what we would have seen around 5-6 years back. This has changed now, the demand for new content is huge these days. So, those are the different trends that we have seen over the past 2-3 years.
We have seen the introduction of homegrown characters and local stories gaining traction in a huge way, be it Motu Patlu, Rudra, Shiva, Chhota Bheem, Fukrey Boyzz. Do you see homegrown stories gaining precedence over global kids content?
Nickelodeon today has the biggest library in the kids’ category, as far as the home-grown content is concerned. Had we not seen the success that we saw, we wouldn’t have invested so much, not just in terms of money, but also we wouldn’t have invested so much of our time in developing these shows, since animation is a long process. For us, the simplest way would have been to just pick content from all over the world and put it on the channel. We obviously saw the success, because one of the advantages of creating your local character and owning the IP is that you have full control in terms of storytelling and development of character, which you obviously don’t have when you go out and buy content from abroad. The other thing is, once the shows become extremely popular, then the shows lend themselves to various other activities, which are part of a kid’s life. Today, we have so many games being created around Shiva and Rudra and Pinaki, Happy and the Bhoot Bandhu shows. You have full control over the entire 360 degree activities that can be done with these characters, once they become popular, that you can do only when you have the IP. There are various factors and advantages of creating these local IPs compared to just buying content from abroad.
What kind of new kids IPs are you planning to launch in the next six months?
The entire focus is on this particular show and probably we will have something coming up in the next six months. But I think right now I would just focus on talking about ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’. We are extremely excited because we have put our heart and soul in this particular show. This is a show which has actually been created at a record pace. Normally the minimum period of time that you need to create a show is anything between 12 months and 14 months, but we have managed to put this show on air in literally a span of 6-7 months. So, that in itself is a huge achievement. The entire focus of all our energies is going to go after creating and ensuring that ‘Chikoo aur Bunty’ has the kind of success that we have experienced with all our other IPs.