Kids channel Hungama TV has big plans this summer. One reason for this flurry of activity is the need to kick in the holiday season, especially the month of May, in style.
As newly-appointed programming head of the channel, Zarina Mehta, says, "It's nothing but a Holiday Hungama in the month of May."
And what the channel intends doing is strengthening three key time bands - 6-8 pm, 4-6 pm and 10am-1 pm - with new shows, backed, of course, by relevant marketing support.
"6-8 pm is our live action band packed at the moment with a number of weeklies," she says. "We will identify two key shows and convert them into dailies. We will also launch a new daily show in the month of May," she adds.
The key insight behind this move is to have "stickiness and loyalty" during the evening band, which, Mehta assures, is possible with dailies.
Currently, popular shows in the 6-8 pm band include 'Booth.com', which achieved a TVR of 1.17 (in the TG of 4-14, SEC AB), behind Cartoon Network's 'Pokemon', which was the highest-rated kids' programme with a TVR of 2.65 for the week ending March 5, 2005. Some other popular live-action programmes on Hungama are 'Chuamantar', 'Tiger' etc.
The 4-6 pm band, on the hand, is set aside for animation, targeted at kids in the 10-14 age-group. Here, the channel has lined-up some newly acquired international shows including 'Yu-Gi-Oh' and 'Doremon', which come from Japan, and 'Sonic X', that will debut in May.
Mehta describes the new animation shows as the channel's "Big Three", and predictably, their launch will be preceded by promotional exercises that will kick-off by mid-April.
The morning band of 10 am -1 pm is earmarked for young kids of 4-9 years, and here, the channel intends having a mix of live action and animation. Some shows that are to debut in this band are 'Martin's Morning' and 'Arthur', which, as Mehta emphasises, is "just right for a young kid". "The idea here is to have softer, sweeter animation peppered with a lot of core values, especially, the theme of 'good over evil'."
This theme of 'good over evil', in fact, is at the heart of the channel's programming strategy, owing to a child's genuine belief in it. "Kids love a happy ending and really believe that good can conquer evil," says Mehta.
Movies and gameshows are the drivers for Hungama on weekends. The channel intends changing the timing of the popular cricket-based gameshow Full Toss, which is telecast at 11 am on Sundays, to 10 am (on the same day), in May. Gol Gol Gullam, another game show, which is set on a giant wheel and telecast at 4.30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain constant, however.
The channel also has plans to build a massive groundswell around the two game shows by launching thematic ground events in the next month or so. The second edition of the Captains' Hunt, namely, the search for twenty kids who will comprise the "high-powered board" or core group of the channel, will be flagged-off in June.
Last year, Hungama introduced the novel concept of having kids on board who could determine what was working/not working in terms of content for the channel. Since launch, the first group of captains (20 of them from 10 cities), have been giving a weekly report based on their observations of the channel. "We base a lot of our decisions from the report we receive from the children," Mehta adds, "which partly explains why we are number three in the kids' space," she adds.
The Hindi movie slot at 5 pm on Saturdays is primarily for "co-viewing" or family viewership, and in store are mainstream movies such as 'Dil Chahta Hai' in the coming weeks. "Weekends are when the family troops in along with the child to watch the channel. And our fare is targeted at the entire lot," says Mehta.
Lucky Ali's 'Sur' premiered a few weeks ago on the channel, and more is the offing, adds Mehta.
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