It's been almost five & #BANNER1 & # years since Nick was launched in India, but it's only now that the channel is gearing up to get back into the reckoning with a new management, localised programming, and aggressive marketing strategies.
Concurring with the shortcomings of the past, Frank Brown, president, MTV Networks, Asia Pacific, says, "We should have been more proactive and undertaken greater marketing efforts. But I believe it's still not too late."
He goes on to assert that Nick is going to be even more aggressive in India in the coming year. "The kids' genre is exploding in India. At Nick, there are several transitions that are in the pipeline."
He adds, "Till date, Nick was being managed by the executives at MTV. But we have realised that the two channels cater to very different segments of viewers. So, we are in the process of hiring a separate management team, which will work exclusively for Nick.
"Secondly, we plan to provide our viewers with a wider range of programming, starting from format shows and cartoons to game shows and drama series."
The channel has started localising its content with new packaging and presentation of international format shows besides three new, locally produced shows, which will be launched this year.
A locally produced show that the channel is banking on is 'Fully Filmy'. The show will be launched by end-September, while the other two are slated for the end of the year.
Previously, Nick had tried its luck with a few Indian shows such as 'Jadoo' (the animated character inspired from the movie, 'Koi… Mil Gaya') and 'Dum Dama Dum' (the Indian version of the show, 'Double Dare').
Nick also plans to launch a contest around the show, 'Jimmy Neutron', where schoolchildren will be asked to send in ideas for inventing products the way the popular character, Jimmy Neutron, does.
Merchandising is the other segment that the channel is seeking to explore. Nick plans to launch consumer products, which includes clothes, toys and games involving local characters.
"Nick merchandising is a craze internationally," says Brown. "Although we are trying it out for the first time in India, we feel there is a huge potential for growth."
On the growing competition among kids' channels, Brown says, "We can't panic at this point of time and use monies irrationally. We have a vision to make Nick the number one kids' entertainment channel. By 2006, you will see Nick emerge as a stronger brand."
"This 'localisation' is not a sprint for us - it is a long-term marathon strategy," Brown concludes.
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