Content and challenges faced while creating that content are crucial and is being closely looked at, beyond replication of TV content on digital
Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | April 7, 2016
While the world seems to be getting closer to the virtual world, so are kids getting hung up to the digital content. It is increasingly becoming difficult to make them understand why their favourite show cannot be watched (on TV) at the time of their choice. Just like the youth opting to watch sports at their convenience and women looking at catching up with their favourite shows after office hours, the children are also expecting their own content at their own time slot. The answer is ‘Digital’.
The comfort level that the kids have found with the gadgets is amazing. In fact, they are so tech savvy that you might not know a feature in your phone and they’ll have the solution to that.
Having said that, what exactly are the young ones watching when they are glued to the gadgets every single moment of their leisure time? How do you ensure that the content is ‘meant for the age’? Well, the content creators are under the similar pressure. Apart from replicating television content to digital, they’re also making some fun original content for kids.
Here’s what they have to say.
Getting it Right, and how?
Digital is like a vacuum with no gravitational force. It is highly difficult to restrict the content available on digital and what your kid’s eyes are consuming. The pop-ups and AI-driven suggestions make it worse for the parental guidance.
Viacom 18 recently launched their OTT VOD platform VOOT, which has a special section called Voot Kids, with parental pin. Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures said, “Two key things one should keep in while making content for kids is the lower attention span and extreme obsessiveness about a character.”
Well, on the other hand, Vinoth Chandar, CEO and Creative Director, Chu Chu TV thinks that on the digital platform, there should be fun and educational content for kids. Chandar further said, “As a global platform, we learn a lot of things on creating content for kids. For instance, in America, one is not allowed to show ‘guns’ to kids. In one of our shows, we showed that and we got a feedback that it is bad. Hence, we reworked on the content and showcased it in a new form. In this way, we learn a lot of various cultures across the globe.”
Apart from stories and cartoons, games are what catch the kids real quick. As per Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies, “We need to be very careful about few aspects, like, not showing blood in action games, as it affects the young minds quite easily.” Another one is placement of native ads. He said, “We ensure we switch off categories which are not appropriate for kids when it comes to native advertising.” Lastly, he mentions that, they make content with which kids can take back something and start a conversation.
An expert on the digital platform, Gopa Menon, Vice President, Isobar agrees that for long time content for kids in India on digital was never given much thought, it was mostly TV content replicated on digital. It is now that we are increasingly seeing more and more customised content.
Menon said, “It’s all about storytelling. I think personalisation or customisation is key when developing content for kids. Next is, how can we involve merging of physical and digital products. Connected experience, that’s an ultimate test for any content/ brand. Asking fans and kids to create and contribute would be great way to engage and hook kids.”
Not a Cake walk
After analysing what might work for kids, the implementation is all too difficult and time consuming. While one thinks, it is easy to make content for kids, it is actually not. It requires a lot of creativity as kids tend to learn fast and it gets faster for the wrong things. One needs to be careful while making content for kids.
It is true that kids are more likely to get diverted to something that does not fall in their territory. Mentioning how censorship is a major issue while kids’ digital consumption increases, Chandar explains, “For instance, India currently doesn’t have YouTube Kids, hence for a creator like ‘Chu Chu TV’ YouTube is the platform where kids will consume content.”
Gandhi, on the other hand denies censorship being a problem. “I feel so because as content makers, we are really responsible to make the right kind of content.” He has, on the other hand, voted as to how time consuming is kids’ favourite type of content - animation. “Apart from this, I think pre-school content is being increasingly localised, even at global levels.
Menon opines that the apprehension of the parents about children surfing for online content will subside with time. He explains, “Few years ago, parents were apprehensive of kids of going online and being exposed to content which is not desirable as most of the experience is unsupervised, but this is changing as digital is becoming mainstream. It's now becoming an integral part of the education curriculum and with increased tools available to block undesired content, this issue should soon become irrelevant.” However Menon feels that anything to do with kids, supervision is always recommended.
Generating money is a huge challenge in the digital area, and take it to the little passive decision makers, it becomes more difficult. Agarwal feels that content producers are not making their monies in spite of providing good content. “Paid content is much more appreciated than free, but this culture is yet to pick up in the Indian market.”
Good adverts; bad adverts
While advertising is crucial for any content to get fueled and to go on, digital makes the things trickier. Plus, considering the raw minds which we are dealing with here, the content within the advertisements becomes equally important as the main programming one.
Agarwal and Chandar stress on how the relevance of ads is important. The ads should come at the right frequency and have a right placement; not disturbing the child’s viewing experience. Agarwal said, “For instance, Parle biscuits have been a relevant kid’s advertiser for us for a long time now. They need to be relevant.”
Chandar added, “Advertisers, who are already advertising with us on TV, have expressed desire for our digital platform.”
Sharing some interesting insights Menon said, “Since data is not readily available and whatever is available is mostly mapped on 13+, being absolutely sure if the ad is being targeted to kids is difficult. Mostly ads are served on contextual base, so assumption being if someone is watching kids content like cartoon or kids programme, it would be kids. This space needs further enhancement with more understanding of how and what kids are watching. With more and more content being developed for kids, this should also change and we soon will have more data to customise and target relevant advertising to kids.”