TV for Children: Growing, and how!

14 Nov,2012

Representational photograph (Kids participating in laughter therapy session in in Mumbai... Photograph by Fotocorp)

 

 

By Ananya Saha

 

There was a time, not so long ago in the 1990’s, when the Sunday slot of Mahabharata and animated series meant family viewing or kids genre. Kids were allowed to watch TV with parental permission. And today, kids genre in television media is the third largest after Hindi GECs at 27.6 per cent and Hindi movies at 11.9 per cent according to the FICCI-KPMG 2012 report.

 

Anita Nayyar

Acoording to Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media, India & South Asia, the advent of Discovery Channel in 1999 saw a segment of kids watch it for education or interest. “Star World in 2004 had programmes like ‘Full House’ starring kids, but it was really post-2006 when kids became dominant. Their growing viewing needs and dedicated channels for them were addressed by various slots on various channels and some dedicated channels like Cartoon Network, Pogo, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Hungama, etc,” she points out. However, there is no denying the fact that there is not enough programming and print magazines for the young adult making them an underserved audience.

 

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and Business Head, Sonic and Nickelodeon India concurs, adding, “In terms of getting their daily dose of entertainment, this TG needs to flirt with options available across multiple platforms – be it TV, online or print.”

 

Sashwati Banerjee

Apart from television content, on the print content, Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop Initiatives India PLC added, “Books / print is another matter. This is not a generation that is growing up with print awareness and it is reflected by the recent ASeR report which showcases that children in Grade 5 are reading at Grade 2 level. There is a serious crisis in education, and reading, comprehending and fluency are critical indicators to children’s lifelong learning. There is a large number of publishers in India, but very few publish children’s books and a still smaller number specialize in publishing children’s books. Recent reports have indicated that ebooks have a higher growth potential. However, wider access is still an issue as these books require high end mobile devices (cell phones and tablets) to access and use.”

 

Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Catering to infants to kids upto eight-years, Galli Galli Sim Sim has evolved in multiple ways since it’s inception in 2006. It evolved the format from the classicSesame Streetmagazine style to a more narrative ‘block style’ based on research that children in India are more used to stories or narration. Considering that access to television is limited, Galli Galli Sim Sim produced a radio programme, that is being aired by 10 community radio stations to reach populations with critical messages around health, hygiene, literacy and girl child education.

 

Talking about Nicklodean and Sonic, Ms Jaipuria, said that Nickelodeon reaches out to 11 million kids pan India. “With media spends on kids channels approximately in the range of Rs 270cr, It is slated to grow further due to a slew of new channel launches in FY 13, she asserted. She also said that with the launch of Sonic in 2011, the investments in the kids genre has grown.

 

According to a recent E&Y study the children’s genre has emerged as the largest viewership segment after India’s general entertainment channel (GEC) sector. The segment comprised 18.3 per cent of the viewership among 4-14 year olds in 2011, as compared to 16.9 per cent in 2010. The study also states that advertising revenue generated by the children’s genre totalled Rs 2.4 billion in 2011, up from Rs 2 billion in 2010. This is attributed to the growth in the viewership in the children’s genre from 43 million in 2010 to 48 million in 2011. This segment focuses on its target audience through a total of 14 channels in the age groups of 2-4 years and 4-14 years, comprising the majority of the market, as well as 14-18 years.

 

The market for kids programming is huge, and the audience in this segment is growing. No wonder then that this November Zee launched ZeeQ, a 24×7 edutainment channel for kids aged 4-to-14-years. There are talks and suggestions of a DD Kids given Doordarshan’s reach. Kids seem to be pampered in the true sense and it is positive pampering.

 

Even as the category sees more entrants trying to woo the young audience, in terms of advertising pie, this genre ranks after general entertainment and sports. “We’ve seen a range of products and services making the kid the hero – from financial like insurance say an ICICI Smart Kids with the kid at the dinosaur museum or Bank of India with the kid putting his piggy bank in the locker to a flipkart.com with kid avatars of the elders contemplating a buy; simply because they are either targets or influencers and their starring role has the potential for breaking clutter. We’d estimate the kids ad-market between Rs.200crores to Rs.260crores. The pioneer in using kids to demonstrate pester power was Maruti Suzuki’s Esteem report card commercial,” elaborated Ms Nayyar.

 

With evolving societal structure as well as keenness on kid’s development for the future, Ms Nayyar predicts that “edutainment” will be the biggest driver in the category growth. Kids today are also more exposed .They are more amenable to instruction through entertainment. According to her, the vehicles that will drive the growth will be television, print and online, with online gaining lead.

 

“Word-of-mouth in this category has really been underestimated but here is a core audience for this marketing phenomenon,” said Ms Nayyar.

 

Challenges

Content creators and television channels for kids are increasingly experimenting with applications for cellphones and low-cost tablets and migrating content from a traditional linear medium such as TV to non-linear mediums to expand access to populations that need it the most as well as to enhance and enrich learning experiences for children. Notwithstanding the fact that the advent of digitization in India will be a key driver to the growth of the genre in the near future, mobile devices rather than the television set will be the primary driver to engage children in the future. “We’re seeing this change in theUSas well,” said Banerjee.

 

But the genre is facing very many challenges even as it looks at growth. As Ms Jaipuria points out:

– The kid’s category is still hugely under-indexed despite the category contributing 8% to viewership on an All India Level at 4+ age group. TV adsales are under 2% for this genre. Hence investments in the business are under pressure.

– The fragmentation in the kid’s category is increasing by the day with over a dozen players existing currently. This makes it possible for the broadcasters to offer differentiated content across genres and platforms.

– Kids as an audience are a tough bunch to target. They do not consume print and outdoor as primary consumers. A large chunk of the marketing investment is on BTL activities such as School Contact Programmes, Retail activation, direct consumer contact using multiple on-round vehicles which have an extremely high cost per contact.

– Distribution and carriage remains a challenge for this category.

 

Also, as Ms Banerjee explains, children today are “exposed to all kinds of programming especially in single TV homes. There is also extremely low awareness amongst parents on what children should view and what they should not. There is an imperative need to provide rating guidelines as well as awareness on how media affects children.”

 

While the experts believe that the greatest challenge is the creation of original content, or even good adaptation, quality is a major issue. There needs to be a very clear understanding  of the sub-slice segment categories to contain the spill to international programmes, CDs and the online world as also increase the share of viewership of the media vehicle.

 

Says Ms Nayyar: “A lot of content and marketing is done and created for the Sec A and B but we miss a whole other India which invests heavily to educate its kids to give them another destiny. Here, affordable print with in-school promotions with reach beyond the creamy layer would create a whole new bottomline. Also, regional is a huge emerging market; again content with localization and language are opportunities and challenges. Content as always will be both the game player and game changer!”

 

The growth might also come from other content and entertainment avenues such as gaming. The only challenge is to tap into the potential with the right content.

 

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