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Turner aims to remain No. 1 in kids genre in 2014
MUMBAI: Turner International India executive director and network head (kids) South Asia Krishna Desai is a man with a mission. The mission is to protect the market share of kids channels Cartoon Network and Pogo from rivals Disney and Nick.
“We are moving into 2014 with the context that our two channels were No. 1 and 2 last year, so we would like to maintain that this year,” Desai told TelevisionPost.com.
Desai said digitisation of cable TV networks and change in audience measurement from TVRs to TVTs imply that new audiences are being added and measured and therefore it needs to keep up with the changing dynamics by ramping up its content offering.
“We also want to capitalise on digitisation as more viewers come in and the audience measurement is also undergoing change. It means that there are more consumers and there will be more consumers measured than ever before. Apart from distribution, we want to make sure that we have the best content,” added Desai.
He also asserted that both Cartoon Network and Pogo will offer the best content line-up. Cartoon Network will air almost 200 hours of fresh content while Pogo will telecast 120–150 hours of fresh content.
“On CN, the biggest thing has been the new series of ‘Tom & Jerry’ that cuts across age and geography barriers. We will have new season of ‘Roll No 21’. Then we have a new show in ‘Matt Hatter Chronicles’. We will also have few more new shows in Q3 and Q4,” Desai revealed.
The broadcaster is also betting big on new comedy drama ‘Steven Universe’ that it hopes will become a successful show next year. This year the show will have 13 half-an-hour episodes every week so as to allow viewers to sample the show.
“We have also launched a brand-new show ‘Steven Universe’. This is the seeding year of that show which we hope becomes a very big show next year like ‘Ben 10’ and ‘Roll No 21’. It’s a global show from CN Studios and it’s doing fairly well. That’s the next big bet that we are taking.”
The strategy for Pogo, a home-grown channel that recently completed 10 years, is a little different from the one deployed for Cartoon Network. Rather than launching new shows, Turner will build on existing franchises which include ‘Chhota Bheem’ and ‘Mighty Raju’.
“On Pogo, of course, ‘Chhota Bheem’ rules so we have tons of new things for that franchise. Then we have ‘Mighty Raju’ franchise that we plan to make big. So there is a whole new content plan for ‘Mighty Raju’ where we will amp up the volume,” he disclosed.
Like every year, Turner will produce 10–14 movies for Cartoon Network and Pogo. Movies, Desai pointed out, is a key focus area for Turner, one that worked very well. The broadcaster has two strong movie franchises, ‘Lights! Camera! Pogo!’ and ‘Cartoon Network Popcorn’.
“In movies, we have green lit few movies in animation and live action. We produce five to seven movies per channel every year which we own and produce ourselves. We have got the biggest movie library in the kids genre. We recognised the power of long form a while back. We have been doing movies for many years and it’s working well for us,” Desai averred.
The volume of movie content on both the channels goes up and down, depending on the season. “During summer vacation, we have 20 per cent of movie content on an average. During festive season, it can go up to 50 per cent also but we don’t do that on both the channels,” he added.
Pogo – A GEC for kids
Talking about 10 years of Pogo, Desai said that the best thing about the channel is that it has remained true to its positioning, which is that it is a general entertainment channel (GEC) for kids. “In 10 years, the brand DNA of Pogo has remained the same,” Desai quipped.
CN, on the other hand, has undergone a change in positioning from being an action/adventure channel to a comedy channel.
“It used to stand for action/adventure about five to six years ago but now that has reduced and it has become funny. It has changed from action/adventure to humour. Almost 80 per cent is humour while 20 per cent is action/adventure,” he stated.
One thing, though, has remained constant—CN as a brand has always been the best place for cartoons, Desai asserted.
CN has a greater number of shows contributing viewership while Pogo has fewer shows contributing a major viewership chunk, he expounded.
Some of the big franchises on Pogo are ‘Lights! Camera! Pogo!’, ‘Chhota Bheem’, ‘Mighty Raju’ and ‘Mr Bean’ while Cartoon Network counts ‘Lights! Camera! Popcorn!’, ‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘Oggy and the Cockroaches’, ‘Roll No. 21’ and ‘Ben 10’ as its biggest properties.