Tot’s the way ahead for Nick Jr

12 Dec,2012

 

By A Correspondent

 

Most parents are faced with a slightly amusing scenario almost every other day in their lives when their kid is stuck between choosing what programme to watch from an array of kids channels that are blasted across to them. From toddlers to tweens to even teens, children across different age categories have a tough time trying to watch an entertainment channel that amuses them the most. While some may blame this on the innumerable offerings that are available today, others may reason that the quality of content is so superior that it makes the task of staying loyal to one channel more demanding.

 

While in any other space (under the realm of television), players would think twice before venturing with a new channel if the space is too cluttered, that is not the case with the kids genre that saw the launch of a new and challenging entrant in the form of Nick Jr. Said to be the third such launch from the Nickelodeon stable, Nick Jr. is being positioned as an eco-system for pre-school kids and their moms. With world-class content on-air, backed by a comprehensive consumer products range at retail, Nick Jr. aims to become the preferred destination for kids from the age group of 2-6 years and their moms.

 

With history by its side, Nick Jr. is known to be successfully beamed around 125 countries and across 25 different languages with the tag of being a kid-friendly channel that airs safe and edutaining shows. The content is so devised keeping in mind curriculum goals and a child’s growing needs – be it motor, cognitive, creative or technical skills. In fact properties like Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Team Umizoomi, Bubble-Guppies and Blues Clues, amongst many others, Nick-Jr shows are well-researched and proven to aid learning amongst pre-school kids.

 

Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Sharing her excitement with MxMIndia on the latest entrant and on the positioning being adopted, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP & Business Head – Kids Cluster, Viacom18, said: “It just isn’t education per se as that would be very boring and that’s what children do anyways at school. The focus for us is edutainment – a combination of entertainment and education. The focus is a result of the multiple choices that are available for parents and children today.” Given her own example, Ms Jaipuria added, ” As a parent, I can tell you that there are some choices that a parent has to make for their children and as one moves forward one realises that there is a time for everything – both education as well as entertainment. Today, in most houses television has become inevitable and is on switch-on mode for most part of the day. At such times, kids become passive viewers to a lot of content that adults watch. So to bring back the focus on development for children through entertainment was what our objective is.”

 

According to Ms Jaipuria, “There is too much pressure on kids today to perform well be it at school dance, sports etc. As a result of which they get stressed out easily. So the focus here is development of the child which is not rigorous in nature but which is helpful for the growth of kids.”

 

Along with most experts who agree that the edutainment segment is still unexplored and in a nascent stage in India, Jaipuria too has a similar sentiment to share. Says Ms Jaipuria: “The whole concept of parents wanting their kids to be competitive has been there from the start but what has changed today is the offering. We didn’t have much choices or offerings when we were young but that aspect has changed today. So while edutainment offering is in a nascent stage in India the need was always there. Today there is content available that is bridging that gap.”

 

Packing a punch

To begin with, the channel would be airing content daily between 6am to 7pm in the evening and would be followed by Nick Teens. Elaborating on the channel’s approach to content, “The content would primarily be in English and no other language as yet. That’s because in India, English is an aspirational language. Most parents want their kids to learn English whether from SEC A, B, C or D it doesn’t matter. We will play our content only in English so that it helps create another language skill for children,” she explained.

 

On whether the channel will be open to incorporating indigenous content, Mr Jaipuria said, “We don’t plan to launch Indianised shows as yet on Nick Jr. as the shows are very well researched and need a lot of pipeline time as well. Since we have Nickoledean as our mother brand we know that we have invested in three more shows as we go along – they take years to make and we are waiting for them to launch in the US and then bring them here. Having said that, we know that kids are universal in their appeal and therefore every content targeted towards them works today. You do not have to make desi content to cater to local needs; at least not for this genre.”

 

Sandeep Dahiya

Sharing his plans on the retail front, Sandeep Dahiya, SVP, Consumer Products – Viacom18, said, “Given the line-up of iconic characters on Nick Jr., we’re ready to give wings to kids’ imagination, through a product range that’s comprehensive as well as interactive. As part of our plan to create an eco-system around Nick Jr., we will not only further strengthen the Dora the Explorer franchise, but also bring to life some of our other internationally acclaimed properties like Go Diego Go, Bubble Guppies, Blues Clues and Team Umizoomi, in categories that are both, conventional as well as unconventional.”

 

While the kids genre is increasingly being viewed as being cluttered, that may not necessarily be the case, feels Ms Jaipuria. In fact, according to her the kids genre contributes around 8 per cent to the overall television pie and is second only to GECs in India. The space has also being seeing good response from advertisers with the ad spends pegged at around Rs 250-300 crore. According to Jaipuria, what will further incentivize players to do well is the digitization wave that will bode well for all players. “With digitization having come in, there is a lot of segmentation that is now possible for us to do. Digitisation has enabled us to segment and provide offerings to viewers in a manner where business also makes sense for us. I guess it’s a wave of digitisation that we rode on with Nick Jr. particularly,” she said.

 

As for launching the channel in a slowdown phase, Ms Jaipuria said, “Slowdown has had no effect on our channels so far. In the past six years that I have been here, we have launched three channels and each one of them has being throwing up good viewership numbers so far. In fact we’ll be launching more Indian content as we move along.”

 

On solid ground

With its plans around content firmly in place, the channel would be complementing the offline initiative with a little help from online too. Added Ms Jaipuria: “We will be focusing on digital around Nick Jr. And will especially be targeting the mothers. As we’ve said, mothers will be a very important subset while we promote this channel. Also, I am imagining that it will be the mother that will lead the channel on to the digital platform; and mothers today are present on the website – let’s get real about that fact. There are a lot of activities that the mother can do with the child on our digital platform.” According to Jaipuria, the idea is to stay ahead of the curve as kids today are becoming screenagers and they want to consume content across various screens. “We want to make sure that we are present across various screens and therefore the idea of engaging outside of television,” she affirmed.

 

When asked about the viewership numbers expected from the newest entrant, Jaipuria expressed a feeling of caution as she said, “It is difficult to predict what viewership Nick Jr. will throw up because the slicing of TAM doesn’t even capture this segment; the whole rating system starts from the age group 4. So I do not know they will manage to capture our TG. Ideally Nick Jr. will be like any other niche channel that not necessarily depends on GRPs but has a whole lot of connect with the TG audience. We are trying to figure out if TAM can do anything about the slicing of the kids genre but till then we will live with what we have.”

 

Presenting a robust outlook for the various channels under Nickelodeon, Ms Japuria sounded content as she said, “Sonic has a 3 per cent market share and is riding high on digital. If you know the kids category you will know that it is a very slow category as you have to build loyalty with children over a period of time. They are so in love with their favourite character that it takes time for them to like another. As for Nickoledean, it occupies anywhere between 18-22 per cent market share and competes for the top spot. With digitisation taking off, we expect our market share to only grow further.”

 

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MxMIndia spoke to top media agency captains on the launch of Nick Jr 

 

Mohit Joshi, MD, MPG India

Yes, definitely there is scope for more kids channels in India. Kids consume a lot of television and are most loyal viewers of shows – ‘appointment viewing’ in the true sense happens in this TG. On a personal note, my daughter is very upset that ‘CBeebies’ is not available anymore. Point being made – this TG is hungry for more content and ‘good’ content.

 

Also, we as parents and as media experts, would love to have an edutainment channel option in this country.

 

Shashi SinhaShashi Sinha, CEO – Lodestar UM & IPG Mediabrands

I have not seen the content on the new channel and would therefore not be in a position to comment much on it but the fact is that the kids genre is at an exciting phase in India. With edutainment as their core focus, the channel has made a good segmentation move that will ensure that kids come and watch their channel. Moreover, more than half of India’s population is young and anything that is catered to or centered around them will eventually do well in the long run.

 

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