Sony YAY! to deepen connect with viewers through fresh content, language feeds

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MUMBAI: Pitted against major kids networks like Disney, Turner, and Nick, Sony Pictures Networks India’s (SPNI) kids channel Sony YAY! plans to scale-up its original content offering in 2018.

The channel also plans to strengthen its regional presence with the launch of two more audio feeds in Bengali and Malayalam. Earlier, it had launched Tamil and Telugu audio feeds to offer its content is more Indian languages.

On the back of local IPs, the channel has entered into licensing and merchandising in partnership with Black White Orange (BWO).

On the original content, the channel has a slate of 10 new made for TV movies along with special new holiday episodes this summer.

It will also expand its local animation programming slate with the launch of a brand new show KickO and Super Speedo – An action hero in a kids avatar with a supercar.

Sony Yay!’s line-up includes musical comedy ‘Guru Aur Bhole’, ‘Sab Jholmaal Hai’, ‘Prince Jai Aur Dumdaar Viru’ and ghost comedy ‘Paap-O-Meter’.

Sony YAY! also said that it is the only kids channel to have 100% of airtime dedicated to original content in the viewable hours (7 am to 10 pm).

The channel has already produced 88 hours of original content and is slated to scale up to an additional 120 hours in the second year.

SPN Kids genre business head Leena Lele Dutta said that the channel will take the promise of happiness ahead in its second year.

Building a robust programming portfolio

‘KickO and Super Speedo’ is the biggest launch of the year for the channel. The action-comedy show features adventures of a superhero kid and his special gadget car Super Speedo. The show is being produced by Green Gold Animation. Each episode will be of 22-minute duration.

In each episode, the dynamic duo takes on the villains and their villainous cars to save the day for Sun City. Drawing from what kids love – Super Powers, the car emerges from KickO’s wristwatch ‘R7’, which aims to capture kids’ imagination through 3D animation.

The show will air every day at noon starting 21 May 2018. The genre of action-comedy has not been there on Sony YAY! so far.

“It is a little more progressive from all the shows that we have had. We have tied up with Green Gold Animation to produce this show for us. It is a long association. It is a 22-minute episode format. There is a good balance of hardcore action with dashes of comedy,” Dutta noted.

Of the ten new films made for TV movies planned for 2018, the channel will launch five this summer as a part of its movie festival ‘Housefull Fridays’.

Based on two of their flagship shows ‘Honey Bunny’ and ‘Guru aur Bhole’, the five films being premiered are ‘Honey Bunny in Plane Hijack’, ‘Honey Bunny in Himalayan Car Rally’, ‘Honey Bunny in Double Impact’, ‘Guru aur Bhole the Gladiators’ and ‘Guru Aur Bhole in Alien Busters’.

These films will premiere every Friday starting 4 May at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm. Dutta noted that since the characters are homegrown IPs it is very easy to extend them anywhere.

Earlier, two movies had launched based on ‘Sab Jolmaal Hai’ for Diwali and Christmas. A conscious decision has been made to put ‘Honey Bunny’ and ‘Guru aur Bole’ at the forefront of made for TV movies.

Apart from these new films, the channel is also introducing all-new holiday episodes of the shows.

The channel will also air new episodes of ‘Honey Bunny’ ‘Guru Aur Bhole’, ‘Sab Jholmaal Hai’ and ‘Paap-O-Meter’. “We have gotten into two seasons of ‘Guru Aur Bhole’ and ‘Sab Jholmaal Hai’. We are getting two new seasons of 26 episodes each of both these shows. We also have additional episodes of ‘Paap-O-Meter’,” Dutta stated.

Keeping it local

The channel has added two new language options – Bengali and Malayalam, becoming the only kids channel in India with five languages – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Malayalam, and allowing kids to enjoy content in their own language.

“We have extended our language play with Malayalam and Bengali this year. The feed is active right now. It is strange that there is no other kids channel that has offered content in five local languages. Nuances from different regions of India will make the connect with the kids. It will be about talking about the YAY! philosophy which is about bringing happiness to kids’ lives,” she noted.

She noted that the channel initially had thought of doing Marathi and not Malayalam. However, the channel decided that there is a huge overlap of Hindi in Maharashtra. So the channel decided to wait and watch and not go for a Marathi play instantly.

“We wanted to get the South languages pretty much covered first. Besides Chuchu TV from Sun TV there is no other Malayali channel for kids. The similar situation exists in West Bengal,” she stated.

Licensing and merchandising

Intending to be a part of not only kids’ entertainment but also a part of their everyday lives, the channel has entered into licensing and merchandising in association with Black White Orange (BWO), an Indian licensing, merchandising and brand agency.

The aim, Dutta said, is to have brand YAY! not just on television but to also have an entire ecosystem around it.

“They represent other big companies as well. The deal is for categories like apparel, footwear, toys, back to school which is things like school bags, water bottles, and tiffin boxes. They will deploy their resources for us because they also feel that local characters are missing in their portfolio. Local characters that connect instantly with kids is something that they find value in as well,” she said about the partnership with BWO.

There will also be a separate consumer products piece. One aim is to integrate Sony YAY! characters on the packs of FMCGs through promotional or product marketing. Toys will be the first consumer product that will be rolled out. Work has started on back to school products. This range takes a long time to produce and get on the shelf.

The next back to school cycle in 2019 is when this product range rolls out. Toys, apparel, and footwear are the categories that will be rolled out in the first year. This play will go much beyond the Metros. It will be done through various channels from e-commerce to mom and pop stores.

Gaming

This is another piece that will be looked at for this year. The gaming initiative will kick-off with ‘KickO and Super Speedo’ as these shows lend themselves to gaming.

“We want to venture out into gaming with ‘KickO and Super Speedo’. We have tied up with a company for Augmented Reality. Kids will be able to enroll, play the game, find out how others are doing. There will be a leaderboard that we will come out with on-air, digital, social media. We have started work on the game now. We hope to launch the game in October.”

On-Ground initiative

The channel plans to further extend its viewer base through a comprehensive summer campaign, that reaches out to over 25 million kids across the country through an extensive TV plan coupled with on-ground activations like 84 cities canter, mall activations, and various other associations.

The reason for this Dutta explained is to build on the brand in Kerala and West Bengal where investments have been made in dubbing. The aim is to make sure that the brand goes out there and the characters should be as popular there as they are in the Hindi heartland.


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