By: Yohan P Chawla
With over 500 hours of original content in its library, Viacom18’s kids cluster has been ruling the kids’ genre for quite some time now. Nickelodeon has been at the top of ratings with a market share of 20%.
To up the ante for their other channel, Sonic, which is not doing as well as Nickelodeon, Viacom18’s kids cluster has announced a strategic partnership with Bollywood director Rohit Shetty to bring his film franchise, Golmaal onto the small screen as a show called Golmaal Jr. It’s a show that brings popular characters of the Golmaal franchise to the world of cartoon for kids to enjoy during their summer holiday season.
The channel has planned a massive promotion plan, apart from going the regular network route the, the channel has decided to heavily promote the show on other GECs such as Star Plus
The network this year has aimed to create 200+ hours of original Kids content, thus taking the content library to a total of 700 hours. With all the previous shows and IPs Nickelodeon has been leading the pack while the team has loads planned for Sonic.
Medianews4u caught up with Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head – Hindi Mass Entertainment and the Kids TV Network at Viacom18 for a brief chat about Nickelodeon, Sonic and the entire kids cluster of Viacom18.
Being the leader of the kids’ genre with over 500 hours of content and backing of the mighty Viacom18 Network, What are the key trends that you have seen with kids in terms of their likes and dislikes and how have you used those learnings in the plans to make Sonic crawl up the viewership charts.
The learning was from a perspective to say that lets work with the white spaces and fill the gaps that exist in the franchise. For example, what Sonic lacked was a hearty, over the top,mischievous show because we have Shiva which is a superhero and we had a chase comedy which was with Pakdam Pakdai. What we learnt from our experience with that was let’s fill the gap with something that Sonic doesn’t have.
Second learning, to my mind, is that whatever we create has to be relatable to children, because at the end of the day they have to embrace the character. The duration, format, animation and all of that makes a difference. Shiva for example is a 3D show, now let’s try and do a 2D show. Shiva is a 22 minuter so here we thought we’ll tell stories two stories of 11 minutes each.
A lot of strategic thinking has gone into how to create different shows and genres for the channel and that is what we are presenting on Sonic now.
At the start of the roundtable you mentioned that Sonic has dropped. Why did you say so?
It was more environmental if you ask me. I think it was a channel to reckon with, back then. Ofcourse there was a complete plethora of competition that came up; we slipped because a lot of the competitor’s shows were local. But a large part of Sonic’s problem was its distribution which created a bit of havoc for us from that perspective. Also when the channel started, Sonic was not into languages, which we did much later in regional. I think, a little bit of all of that has caused it slipping down.
How does the content be relevant because, kids keep entering and exiting the age group as they evolve very fast?So do you think kids would have seen the Golmaal franchise movies?
To enjoy Golmaal Jr, I don’t think you have to have watched the film. Because even if you have not watched it, it is still a show of 5 friends which have created gangs and they are pranking. It’s a very lovable, enjoyable, fun and masti show. If one has not watched Laxman and Madhav before these are just simple 5 friends for you who are in a school and having fun and playing pranks on each other. To me it is independent of the franchise, ofcourse it helps us to know that it is Golmaal Junior and that is why we have taken that franchise to begin with. It’s a very relatable show that the kids will love and it’s over the top mischievous.
Which is the language that gets the most viewership? Isn’t it Hindi? Which is the regional language that gets more eyeballs?
Unfortunately we don’t have that measurement. But having said that, Hindi ofcourse; because it is homogenous across east, west and north regions.
We are doing very well in Tamil. For example, we are larger than Chutti TV. Naturally our ratings in those markets are doing well, that is the only proof of the pudding saying regional languages.
What sort of growth are you expecting for this year?
We want Sonic to change its rank. Sustain the number one position on Nick and grow the market share year on year basis. We are currently at an 18% market share for Nick which has now become 20%. It’s really about growing and from a very small channel, we now reach to 44 million children which keeps our advertisers very happy and excited about advertising with us.