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Business – Channels air children’s specials to add spark

Pradipta Mukherjee

Children are all set to have a blast this Diwali with TV channels wanting to make the most of the festive season. The channels estimate that the average time spent by children watching TV and surfing the internet during Diwali increases by 5 to10 per cent. This has prompted children’s TV channels like Nick India, Disney, Cartoon Network and Pogo to launch special shows, merchandise and online games to capture the season’s flavour.

Nick India, for instance, will launch its biggest show Casper, which is a friendly ghost character, starting this Friday. Nina Jaipuria, vice-president and general manager of Nick India, says: “We are giving our channel a new look and feel in terms of design, music and overall a new packaging to make it look more youthful and contemporary, ahead of Diwali.” Nick is also launching a new game show towards the end of the vacation. The company would launch the second season of Let’s Just Play and create microsites of it on its website for its fan club.

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The company is introducing interactivity online, games and greeting cards, and is also planning to introduce multiplatform games for dual playing.

“Online gaming is by far the most popular section on our website. So we are thinking of launching a gaming platform so that multiple players can play together,” says Jaipuria. Nick India’s website sees close to 600,000 page views month-on-month. “The Nick India website is a gateway for contests and around 40 per cent of the response received is online, followed by phone calls and SMSes,” adds Jaipuria. Nick has tied up with Excel to launch new toys. The company is also launching the Nick Fundu bag, priced at less than Rs 500, which will have a range of merchandise.

Likewise, Disney Channel India will launch its popular tween (between age 9 and 12) franchise – High School Musical (HSM) – to bring a musical fare this Diwali for its viewers. Club HSM will be an exclusive online space for all HSM fans.

“Club HSM will help fans interact more closely with their favourite stories and content from HSM,” said Devika Prabhu, associate director – programming, Walt Disney Television International India.

Venugopal Iyengar, associate director – marketing of Walt Disney Television, says: “Earlier our website used to be just a marketing extension of the on-air shows but now we are creating exclusive content too.” So, Disney would introduce “behind the scenes” for some of its shows, and also a “know the stars” section so kids can get to know the characters they see on television. Special games built around particular shows that children can play online is another original online content the company is building.

“The idea is not replication of the television content but something more than that,” says Iyengar. Likewise, Turner, which owns the popular Cartoon Network and Pogo channels, introduced a special block Maximum Pataka on October 14, which showcases popular Indian animation-movies, such as Prahlad, Bal Ganesha, Dashavatar, Eklavya – The Invincible, and Ghatotkach. Pogo will launch themed franchise, Lights Camera Pogo! Di Wah Wah Li, which will telecast movies such as Return of Hanuman, Immortal Hanuman and Hanuman from October 11 to 28.

Monica Tata, VP & deputy GM (entertainment networks), South Asia, Turner International India, says: “Festive months are high viewership period and we always schedule and launch some of our best programming during these time-periods. We currently have two contest pages on Cartoon Network India and Pogo supporting some of the biggest off-air events across both these channels specially created to add more fun to the festive season. On http://www.cartoonnetworkindia.com we have the special – Cartoon Network Go Active Fun Run, and on pogo.tv we have the M.A.D Carnival.”

“We have also launched special range of merchandise for the festive season across apparels, publishing, toys, gifts and novelty of some of our most popular characters such as PPG, Ben 10, Thomas The Tank Engine among others. Available at all leading retail stores across the country, the products are priced between Rs 60 and Rs 1,000,” adds Tata.

While Cartoon Network boasts of almost 8,00,00 unique users who spend 32 minutes on its website on an average, Pogo sees around 82, 545 users spending 21.5 minutes on an average on its website

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October 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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