(Getty)
(Getty)

Indian kids still prefer animation, and Nickelodeon is betting on it

  • Nickelodeon is bringing an animated version of popular Bollywood comedy franchise Golmaal titled Golmaal Jr. on its TV channel Nickelodeon SONIC
  • The network is looking to scale up to another 200 hours over and above its current 500 hours in the coming year

New Delhi: The Indian arm of US-headquartered children’s pay television network Nickelodeon believes most kids still prefer to watch their favourite content on television as opposed to digital platforms and that animation remains their first love. The network is bringing an animated version of popular Bollywood comedy franchise Golmaal titled Golmaal Jr. on its TV channel Nickelodeon SONIC in association with Reliance Animation and Rohit Shetty Picturez.

“We realized we don’t have a show that’s mischievous, full of pranks and slightly over-the-top that kids would love. Plus if you look at any television rating numbers, you will know that Bollywood is the religion of the country, and it is also loved by kids. In fact, studies show that Golmaal has been a favourite with kids year after year. That’s where the marriage of Golmaal and our network happened," said Nina Elavia Jaipuria, head – Hindi mass entertainment and kids TV Network at Viacom18.

Jaipuria said kids love animation even today, that it is their source of entertainment and helps them escape into an imaginary world to beat boredom and stress. As its eighth original intellectual property after shows like Motu Patlu and Pakdam Pakdai, Nickelodeon is looking to expand its library with Golmaal Jr. and scale up to another 200 hours over and above its current 500 hours in the coming year.

“We want to broaden our base, both width and depth--not just in terms of the number of IPs but the number of hours of content and the stories we can tell for a particular character," Japuria said, adding that this would mean not just series that are 11-22 minutes long but almost 12 movies in a year that would range from 70-90 minutes and mini-movies that could go from 45-50 minutes. While the content would be showcased across television and the digital platforms, Nickelodeon believes its primary audience is still watching TV.

“TV is still a bigger platform for us, especially where older kids are concerned. In the 2-14 age group, the TV viewership per child per day has gone up from 1 hour 4 minutes last year to 1 hour 12 minutes this year. Despite all the fragmentation and the choices they have, kids keep coming back to TV channels and animation is the format they really love," Jaipuria said.

To be sure, that notion is not misplaced. According to data from BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), average weekly impressions for the kids genre has grown to 778.4 million impressions in 2018 from 422.1 million impressions in 2015. At an average weekly impression of 134.8 million, Nickelodeon commands 20% of the kids genre viewership. The target group for 2015 data is the 4-14 age group compared to 2018 where the sample was 2-14.

Impressions refer to the number of individuals in thousands of a target audience who viewed an event, averaged across minutes. BARC India is the country’s TV viewership monitoring agency.

Despite the new tariff order brought in by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) that allows individual pricing of channels, Jaipuria said they have seen a topline growth of 14%. Apart from a fair mix of advertisers, opportunity comes from licensing and merchandising where Nickelodeon has partnered with brands like multinational consumer electronics manufacturer Casio and

Prataap Snacks to monetize their IPs beyond television through apparel, stationery, and bedroom decor.

“Today the kids category is a one that delivers reach, and our franchises reach out to almost 44 million kids in India. Besides, parents are saying that kids influence the overall household viewing a lot. Kids are in and out of phases, so it is very important as an entertainment network for us to ensure that we have their pulse with us all the time, and that we are giving them entertainment that engages them and works for them," Jaipuria said.

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