Nickelodeon enjoys good viewership from rural areas as there are no FTA channels in kids category: Nina Elavia Jaipuria

  •  November 5,2020 By IndianTelevision Team

MUMBAI: Nickelodeon has been the undisputed leader in kid's TV space in India for several years now. It has created several iconic characters such as Motu-Patlu, Gattu Battu, Rudra, and Dadduji that have been immensely loved by children as well as the brands. With over 500 hours of content, the franchise today has the largest, immersive, and most versatile local content library in the category. The channel is aiming to increase 100 hours of content by the next fiscal year. 

In its quest to continue its leadership position, the kids’ entertainment franchise announced the launch of its tenth indigenous IP Pinaki & Happy- The Bhoot Bandhus on Sonic. Produced by Delhi based Tavrohi Animations, the new 3D animated show is fast paced, entertaining, spooky – perfect to take the young viewers on an adventurous joy ride starting 9 November, Monday at 11:30 am on Sonic. The show will have three slots on the channel for the whole day. It is a ghost story mixed with comedy.

Viacom18 Hindi mass entertainment and the kids TV Network head Nina Elavia Jaipuria highlighted that this project started 20 months ago and ever since that time, it was in the pipeline. Said she: “Any kids content requires a lot of time because it needs much planning in advance, animation and then you start producing episodes. In the middle of all this is the characterization, scripting and then eight language dubbing.”   

In the meantime, Jaipuria along with the team actively looked at the market research, emerging trends in the kid's section and deep dived into their own portfolio. The channel is looking at white spaces that are untapped and have not been catered to the Indian animation industry. 

New Storyline

For Pinaki & Happy- The Bhoot Bandhus, the channel wrote down an entire hypothesis, worked on the characters, and in fact tested the show. The new property will portray an unusual family of ghosts, who adopt a boy, the titular character - Pinaki, and raise him as one of their own. Fun and chaos ensues when both the worlds collide. The show will illustrate daily adventures, familial love, the friendship of Pinaki and Happy as the fun unfolds when the ‘bhoot world meets the real world’. Directed by Ankur Chauhan, the lyrics of the title track have been penned by the legendary Gulzar, and the music composed by Simaab Sen.

Elaborating more on the number of episodes and the overall plan for the show, Jaipuria shared that the number completely depends upon the viewership, ratings and ROI. Nickelodeon aims to expand the library for every single IP. She added, “We will be curtailed by the capacity that the studio can create in one year and then we will build the pipeline by a few episodes of each show. That is how we will build the 100 hours of content for the next financial year. But we would at least create 30 episodes on one single IP.” The preferred target audience for the animated series continues to be kids above the age of six years. According to Jaipuria, the sweet spot remains from 8 years old to 11 years old.

Nickelodeon enjoys strong viewership from rural areas as there are no FTA (Free to air) channels in the kid's category.

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Marketing Strategy

The show launch will be supported by a robust promotion plan across all platforms, which will include an aggressive TV plan within the Viacom18 network and outside the network. In addition to the high blitz television promotions, the launch will be promoted on cable channels, DTH, OTT platforms, music streaming apps amongst others. There are various innovations lined up on the digital front, including tons of quirky communication on YouTube. There would be a high decibel influencer campaign reaching out to the digital audiences. The promotions will also extend to schools through an expansive virtual school contact program. Further adding to the experience will be fun Bhoot Bandhus inspired digital games, contests, AR filters, virtual dance face-offs, and a series of engaging and interesting on-line interactivity.

Leadership Position

Jaipuria shared that the channels’ prime focus has been to create a local IP that it could own and sweat it across platforms and revenue streams. She mentioned, “It was about creating a local IP in a manner where we created a portfolio and content library which expands in width and depth. It means we don’t only have the number of IPs we kept launching over the last 10 years but also the number of episodes we created for every IP. I think that has helped us to keep the pole position for Nickelodeon. The thing that keeps us on the rating front is also the fact that how we focus on our characters. So, story writing and scriptwriting is extremely important.”

According to Jaipuria, it is extremely important for Nickelodeon to have a franchise and own IPs. Firstly from the ROI perspective, it helps to manifest it on various other platforms. The Nickelodeon IP exists in many avatars that include television, Voot kids, mobile games, product licensing, promotion licensing and consumer products. She pointed out that all the IPs have a long shelf life and start giving profits over a period of time. It keeps the channel ahead of the curve. Jaipuria mentioned, “Kids are early screen adapters and our strategy was to be present on every screen the kids want us to be. Owning the IP and having it for ourselves was very important. It is only then you can put your IP on any screen that the kid demands.”

Brands Play

Jaipuria didn’t hesitate to admit that the pandemic was brutal for the overall broadcast industry and the channel. Nickelodeon witnessed a dip in the adex by 20 per cent. The months from April to June were slow, but as the normalcy returns and products are back on the shelves, advertising has started to grow. Now, adex has gone back to the 2019 level. Starting October the ad volumes have been slightly more. She shared, “Market sentiment has improved, and advertisers are back. Several new categories have also come onboard like e-commerce, automobiles, Edutech, and e-wallet. These include brands like - Vedantu, Byjus, PhonePe, Amazon Pay and others. Some of the advertisers are also new like Lego and Mars. Currently, November and December look overfull. In fact, even during the lockdown, we did not give discounts on ad rates. We are operating on zero discount and I am hoping that the rates will go up.”

The channel has both kid and non-kid advertisers. Kid advertisers are normally FMCG brands like Nestle, Britannia and likewise. But there are non-kid clients also that are targeting the gatekeepers or the co-viewers of the channel. These include e-commerce, automobile, insurance etc. Jaipuria thinks that kids are very good negotiators and have a lot of decision-making power and they are taken into consideration for a lot of household decisions. Brands that are advertising are also aware of the fact that there will be a lot of pester power. Kids now are so tech-savvy that they dominate the discussion on buying decisions - be it household items, groceries, electronics, which paint to apply or which car to buy. Jaipuria opined that this is one of the main reasons why so many advertisers choose Nickelodeon to reach out to these influencers and induce them to buy popular brands.

She concluded, “We have grown on the top line by 12 to 15 per cent last year. We have grown our ad-rates by that much because 12 minutes is all we have to sell. So, all the increase that we get every year comes from value and rates. We are looking at growing and having a fair share in the ad-rate and considering that we are so under indexed at 3 per cent and considering the genre share at 7 per cent, we do want to take our ad-rates up every year."