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Kids’ TV genre-expanding but yet to command respectable advertising rates, says Leena Lele Dutta of Sony Yay

In an interaction with, Dutta – EVP and Business Head, Sony Yay talks about the channel’s five-year journey, challenges of the kids category and their growth plans

Leena Lele Dutta

Sony Yay, which recently became the number one channel in the kids’ genre, will soon launch several new IPs and programs to expand its footprints even further. The channel is also mulling over the plans to launch an OTT platform for kids in the future.

Talking to, Leena Lele Dutta – EVP and Business Head, Sony Yay shared the channel’s growth plan and future strategy. “So, five years ago, it was all about recreating and reinventing what we thought as a team. Figuring out what kids want and filling in those need gaps at that point in time. We thought about making our own IPs, and creating Indian characters because there were very few Indian characters at that time. Because we can’t have them talk in just English or Hindi, we had to dive into all the languages. Now we have eight languages across the channel.”

As per Dutta, the competition in the kids’ category is tough. She said the school reopening has not impacted them. “Within the genre that we play in, there is so much clutter that most of our competitors have 3-4 channels. However, standing out as the number one channel with a single channel is a feat,” she said. 

Speaking about the challenges in the kids’ space, Dutta said, “We know that the kids’ genre is the third-largest but it still does not attract a respectable advertising rate. Planners are not looking at the overall value we get in.”

“Hence, the endeavour for us is to now package all our clients' offerings and go beyond just FCT offerings. We want to make the association a little bit more holistic. We take the brand and we integrate the brand not only on TV but across all mediums. If a client is coming on board and spending Rs 100 with us, he will get FCT plus digital presence. We provide 360-degree solutions for brands. There are categories such as FMCG, Edtech, cosmetics, etc. It's been pretty heartening to see that there are at least 8-10 clients that are exclusive with Sony Yay and not any other kids’ platform.”

“We are also commissioning a study in partnership with Kantar that talks about how kids habits are changing,” she said.

Dutta further revealed that they are launching newer seasons of exiting IPs such as ‘Oggy and the cockroaches’ and ‘Obocchama-kun’. The channel is also launching a movie, for the toon adaptation of ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Chhota Chashmah’ and a brand-new IP called ‘Ha.Go.La’ is in the pipeline and is slated for release by June 6. The channel is also focusing on merchandising kids’ utility products like apparels and bean bags, among other commodities.  

On the marketing side, the channel is focusing on increasing overall engagement. The characters from the channel are travelling across the country and promoting and engaging with the kids through van activations.

In the gaming space, as per Dutta, they have already crossed 30 million downloads for the existing slate of games and are looking to launch more than 20 games this year.

Asked if the channel has any plans to launch its own OTT platform, Dutta stated, “We have a flourishing YouTube footprint. We've got eight YouTube channels where we are clocking in, 5 million video views for each piece. We are looking at it very aggressively.”

“We are also licensing our own IPs to other OTTs like Netflix, and Amazon Prime. However, for launching our own platform, we are currently figuring out what is the need gap for the platform to be launched. Presently, YouTube takes care of everything from learning to entertainment. Yes, there are ambitious plans to enter OTT. However, we need to be very sure of what kids come to us for.”

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