Nick aims to up original programming to 500 hours in FY19; set to launch fifth local IP ‘Rudra’

MUMBAI: Viacom18-owned kids channel Nick is planning to grow its original programming to 500 hours in FY19. The kids broadcaster is entering a new genre of magic-comedy with its new IP ‘Rudra – Boom Chik Chik Boom’. Additionally, the broadcaster is also looking at Bengali and Kannada regional feeds.

“Since 2012, we have done 350 hours of original content and the competition is not even at 250 hours. We have written 1000 stories. Our aim is to grow to 500 hours in FY19,” said Viacom18 head kids entertainment cluster Nina Elavia Jaipuria.

Produced by Greengold Animation ‘Rudra – Boom Chik Chik Boom’ premieres on 11 June. The show will air Monday-Friday at 7:25 pm with repeats at 11 am and 2 pm. The protagonist of the show is a nine-year-old boy who learns magic and fights villains.

The show is written by Niraj Vikram while Gulzaar Saab has scripted lyrics for the title track of the show. The title song will be sung by Arhaan Hussain while the music is created by Simaap Sen.

‘Rudra – Boom Chik Chik Boom’ is Nick’s fifth IP after Pakdam Pakdai, Motu Patlu, Shiva, and Gattu Battu.

Speaking about the fifth IP launch of Nickelodeon, Viacom18 Head – Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster Anu Sikka said, “Magic has been an important part of India’s rich story-telling heritage and children have always been enthralled by this genre. However, despite the interest, there have been no kid’s characters that have been created out of India to cater to this need of our young viewers. The launch of Rudra will help plug this important need gap and provide kids a character that can take them into a new imaginary and mystical world of magic.”

Jaipuria noted that the launch of Rudra will add depth to Viacom18’s library. “We have been focused at creating an entire ecosystem for kids that extends beyond television to Movies, On -ground, Digital, Experiential, Consumer Product and OTTs with our successful portfolio of iconic Made in India IPs. The launch of Rudra is set to add further depth to our portfolio and provide impetus to our objective of engaging kids and creating a dynamic kids ecosystem,” she noted.

She further noted that in the past three years, the profitability of Viacom18’s kids cluster’s has grown nine times. “We make business sense of what we do. We focus on a robust bottom line and an even more robust topline. This way we can reinvest and therefore we have the widest array of local content. The previous year was difficult due to GST but we still grew our top line by 15%. The kids channel business is extremely profitable with robust EBITDA margins.”

She noted that ad and subscription account for 90% of revenues with ad sales contributing a lions share of the revenue due to the structure of the market.

Jaipuria stated that the channel is getting what it deserves being the number 1 player. She mentioned the importance of value adds like the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards which got five to six sponsors including Dabur Red Paste.

The broadcaster is contemplating more regional language feeds. “We are looking at Kannada and Bengali feeds. The issue is the extent to which the benefit will accrue as BARC does not give out language based feeds data” Jaipuria said.

In terms of licensing shows abroad, she noted that shows like ‘Motu Patlu’, ‘Shiva’ has travelled to countries like Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, and Mauritius.

While refusing to divulge details about content investment, she noted that if one takes an average cost of Rs. 3 million an episode then one gets an idea of how much Viacom18 has invested in creating content for kids.

On the marketing front, the broadcaster is looking at multiple touchpoints. Apart from the network push, the broadcaster will also undertake a school outreach programme which will cover 700 schools. In the digital realm, there will be games in addition to made for digital show based theme videos. Social media will also have interactive posts.

Nickelodeon, which has a TV studio in Kidzania in Noida, will also launch a TV studio at Kidzania Mumbai. There is a dubbing studio where kids can get a simulated dubbing experience.

In terms of licensing and merchandising, Elavia noted that the kids clusters works with over 80 licensees, has a presence in over 45 categories and has over 10,000 retail touchpoints.

She also noted that being a responsible broadcaster the company at the end of the day aims to send ou a positive message. In March, it did a ‘Together For Good’ campaign which talked about the importance of safety – cyber, physical and the danger of bullying. The message was ‘Say No To Fear And Yes To Safety’.