The kids’ entertainment genre has grown into a very competitive space today with children sourcing content not only from television but also on smart devices. Sonali Khan, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India, says the market gets even more complicated for them as the content targets younger children.
Sesame Workshop India is a non-profit organisation behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, the adaptation of the U.S show Sesame Street. Khan said broadcasters are not picking their content because it is targeted at a younger age group of 2-6-year-olds. “If you look at private broadcasters, they are finding it very difficult to actually look at our content or our programme in any commercial way. So that's one of the biggest problems we are facing,” she said.
Sesame Workshop has been reaching out to broadcasters as the correct content needs to reach the correct audience, especially with children. She said younger kids end up watching shows meant for older ones if content meant for them is not readily available.
“The positioning of the content has to be on the right channel. Kids can watch anything, but it's also important that it should be the right and appropriate content and for that age group. Younger kids end up watching shows for older kids when the options are fewer, and also because most households have TV. This poses as a fairly challenging market for Sesame. We have been trying to connect with a lot of private broadcasters,” she added.
Khan said she is hopeful that their content gets picked by more platforms. “Our current initiative was picked by Big Magic, which is an FTA channel. We are hopeful that as a couple of more channels are now FTA, our content might get picked up.”
Khan said they are focusing on digital medium and their YouTube channel. “We are looking at YouTube very strongly. Our YouTube viewership has gone up dramatically as kids and parents have been looking for educational and meaningful content for children. Our own YouTube channel also saw huge traction. There are some good YouTube channels that don't have television content and they are doing very well with millions of subscribers,” she added.
Khan said they are exploring ways of bringing their global content to India, which would be dubbed in Indian languages and pose as a good proposition.
She said data for kids’ content needs to be segmented more to enable them to understand the segment in a better way. “If you look at BARC data, they look at 2-14 years of age. Despite saying more segmented data would come in, it has not happened yet. If more segmented data comes in, there will be more strategic ways in which production can be affected,” she said.
Sesame Workshop India is open to collaboration with brands. “We are open to collaborating with brands for content. Monsoons have reached the northern part of the country and we do create content specifically for monsoon and for prevention of mosquitoes and diarrhoea. We're open to collaborating with brands so that there is socially consciously relevant content out there.”
Their recent global initiative, ‘Caring for Each Other’, is aimed at educating and providing resources for children between the ages of 2-8 years and they have been reaching out to parents through social media and other platforms. They have also released four PSAs focusing on health, hygiene and social-emotional health in 11 Indian languages.
They have been working with various state governments to provide ‘Caring for Each Other’ material. Sesame Workshop India’s television series is available on Doordarshan’s Uttar Pradesh channel. The radio show is available on Akashvani, Uttar Pradesh.