Viacom18 firms up strategy to grow kids TV biz in FY20

MUMBAI: Viacom18-owned kids franchise Nickelodeon’s strategy for FY20 includes stepping up its content offering, strengthening Sonic, and launching more language feeds to expand the audience reach.

Nickelodeon plans to launch 200+ hours of original content across genres in the ongoing fiscal. The kids franchise is also rolling out its eighth IP ‘Golmaal Jr.’, which will air on Sonic from 13th May. The aim of launching the new show on Sonic is to help it compete with Discovery Kids and Sony Yay!.

It also plans to add four new language feeds to its existing offering of four language feeds which include Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.

The kids genre is of strategic importance for the Viacom18 network. After entertainment channels, kids is the most important revenue contributor for the network.

Speaking to reporters, Viacom18 Hindi & Kids TV Network Head Nina Elavia Jaipuria said that the Nickelodeon franchise comprising of Nick, Sonic, Nick Jr., and Nick HD+ has seen a 14% growth in topline notwithstanding the disruption caused by the implementation of the new tariff order (NTO).

“We are one of the most profitable businesses for Viacom18,” Jaipuria asserted.

Talking about the content plan for FY20, she stated that the franchise has built a library of 500 hours of content over the years. With the addition of 200+ hours of content, the library will expand to 700+ hours of content. In FY19, the kids network had added 150 hours of content to its library.

Nickelodeon’s existing IPs include ‘Keymon Ache’, chase comedy ‘Pakdam Pakdai’, ‘Motu Patlu’ – the only adult protagonist in the kids’ animation category, India’s whiz kid Shiva, Gattu Battu, India’s first animated detective series, and Rudra Boom Chik Chik Boom – India’s first Magictoon.

“From the 150 hours that we made in 2018-19, we’re actually going to make 200 hours this year, across our IPs across the various formats and IPs that we have. By the end of the year, we are expected to have 700 hours of animation content. We have a very big summer plan. We are pretty much launching new episodes of almost every show that we own,” Jaipuria stated.

Jaipuria also stated that the volume of the content that Nickelodeon has created has helped to retain the number 1 position in the category. She further stated that the kids network will launch four big movies and three mini-movies during the summer.

“Therefore, we are experimenting with formats, durations, genres and creating a very holistic library that is helping us achieve the number one position in the space,” she noted.

Talking about the plans to launch new language feeds, Jaipuria said, “We’re available in four languages in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada and we will expand that to eight languages in the coming year. Regional is the buzzword, it’s really buzzing, and therefore we thought, why not we go regional as well and therefore we will do eight language feeds this year.”

The biggest focus area for the franchise will be to strengthen Sonic through a comprehensive content and marketing strategy. Jaipuria conceded that the Sonic had seen some erosion in viewership in FY19. To overcome that, the franchise is launching a big bang show like ‘Golmaal Jr’ on the channel.

Produced by Nickelodeon and created by Reliance Animation and Rohit Shetty Picturez, ‘Golmaal Jr.’ is based on the successful Hindi movie franchise ‘Golmaal’. It will air on Sonic from 13th May at 1:30 pm daily.

Jaipuria stated that Nick has hit a peak in the kids genre with 20% share. The idea is to build a second strong channel rather than over leveraging one platform. This will help the franchise not just from a viewership perspective but will help it from a monetisation perspective as well.

Viacom18 has also created a 360-degree marketing campaign to ensure that ‘Golmaal Jr.’ to create awareness about the show. Promos to promote the show will be aired across Viacom18 network. It will also look at integrations with ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Khatra Khatra Khatra’.

The show will also be promoted on other TV viewers to get some of the non-viewers of Viacom18. The show will also be promoted heavily through outdoor including mall activations and branding, transit media, and so on.

Jaipuria also highlighted that the kids channels are increasingly becoming an important vehicle to reach not just kids but also their parents. According to research conducted by the network, the key trend that has emerged is that the involvement of kids in purchase-related decisions in the household has increased.

The Nickelodeon franchise, Jaipuria said, has a healthy mix of advertisers. Almost half of its advertiser base comprises of the usual suspects like Britannia, Parle, ITC, Kellogg’s, and Mattel. The other half, she stated, comprises of non-traditional advertisers like auto, banks, and insurance. The non-traditional advertisers are coming on to the platform because 35% of the kids network’s viewership comes from 22 to 40 age-group.

Nickelodeon is working with advertisers to make sure that they get value from the ad dollars that they spend. Rather than plain vanilla advertising of 30 seconds ad, Nickelodeon has tried to deliver value to the advertisers through product integration both passive and active integration.

“We have also done some product licencing. We have got into some promo licensing. We have got some very happy sponsors on Kids Choice Awards (KCA), which we do year after year. We bought some very happy sponsors for the school contract programmes that we do in the year,” she stated.

Jaipuria also noted that the emergence of new screens and the competition from other genres has not impacted the kids TV genre. To buttress her point, she pointed out that nine out of 10 kids want to watch animation. She also highlighted that the time spent on the kids category has increased to 1 hour 12 minutes from 1 hour 4 minutes

“Despite all the GECs trying to move away from the kids, and despite all the OTT platforms that are out there for children today, broadcast and kids category continues to grow. And it has grown by healthy sum,” she averred.

Queried about the impact of the NTO, Jaipuria said that the new regime is still a black hole of sorts because broadcasters have still not got the subscriber reports. She further stated that the Q4 FY19 witnessed a slowdown in advertising due to the NTO implementation.

“We did have a bad quarter because of NTO. There was an ad slowdown because no advertiser was clear about what is the kind of reach the channels are going to deliver and whether consumers are actually buying the broadcast package, or they are buying the DPO package, or they are going a la carte. We were not very clear and we are still not very clear about what is going on,” Jaipuria stated.

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