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‘Kids category is still under-indexed’

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and General Manager, Nickelodeon India, talks about the growth prospects and challenges for Nick and Sonic, underlining that merchandising is a strong driver in this category

Ananya Saha | Delhi | July 2, 2012

The number of kids’ entertainment channels is increasing: not only on television but also on various digital mediums. Claiming over 200,000 fans for Nick on Facebook and over 100,000 fans for Sonic, the kids’ channels from Viacom 18 are seeing an upward trend.

The Nickelodeon franchise has grown manifold in the last couple of months and, recently, Viacom 18 launched another channel under its banner – Sonic – to provide young audiences with double bonanzas by launching shows on both channels. Nick and Sonic are leaving no stone unturned and pushing for greater interactivity to capture the young audience.

Taking advantage of the summer holidays, the channels are all set to play host to the world renowned action heroes – The Power Rangers. Through ‘The Power Ranger Tour’ of India, the Rangers are interacting with the Indian audience to give a touch and feel of the brand. The channel is marketing the property through a 360-degree campaign including print, TV, radio and digital media like Zapak, mall activation, van activity, etc.

With a claimed reach of 11 million kids, the Nick channel itself becomes the prime marketing tool for the new launches, thus spending less than 10 per cent of revenues towards marketing.

Recently, Nick has also lined up exciting shows such as Dennis the Menace, Kung Fu Panda, Ninja Hattori new episodes, among many others. Nick has also lined up interactive campaigns such as ‘My Father, My Hero’, ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Friendship Day’ to interact with the audience.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Executive VP and General Manager, Sonic and Nickelodeon India, said, “In addition to the programming content, Nickelodeon is also engaging its viewers with merchandise launches like Nickelodeon sunglasses for a stylish summer this season with Ganko opticians, Dora Back to School products and also an all-new range of Dora shoes with the renowned shoe brand Metro.”

Merchandising has indeed become a significant revenue stream. With 15+ licenses, the product line-up now sees 1,500 SKUs in over 40 categories, informed Jaipuria. While top line revenue comes from ad sales, she emphasised that merchandising for the channels has grown from zero to 5-10 per cent of revenues. Claiming 8 per cent market share, “Sonic now has over 22 per cent reach in the 4-14 years HSM markets in the kids’ category,” said Jaipuria. She added, “We have been growing at 9-10 per cent every year and I hope that we continue to grow in that range. Subscription revenue is not significant at this stage, but should grow post digitisation. Digitisation would result in enhanced revenue, not in the short term but definitely in the long term.”

Talking about growth in ad revenues from Sonic, which was launched in December 2011, Jaipuria said, “The beginning looks good. From a Rs 140-crore market till five years ago to Rs 240 crore now, the kids category has come a long way. But it still remains under-indexed. There is a long way to go. The kids’ category hasn’t been given its due. We get balance of the advertising after brands advertise on GEC.  Currently, 25 per cent of our advertisers are non-kids and non-traditional advertisers like Vodafone.”

“We witnessed a growth of 10 per cent last year and hope to continue with the same growth, at least in the top line,” Jaipuria concluded.

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