for brands are shifting, and fast, not only geographically from the metros to the villages, but also across newer demographic segments. With the economic power of the consuming class shifting distinctly, new consumer segments are coming to acquire significant sizes. One such new consumer segment which is now gaining importance in India is 'Tweenagers'.
"Children are the most under-served segment of our society and ignored by most marketers. When we go to any mall, there are huge areas for women, men and teenagers, where one finds umpteen brands offering their products. But the children's segment hasn't yet grown. There'll be a small corner devoted to kids with a few badly displayed toys and a small selection of clothes," said Biren Ghose, CEO and president, Kahahni World Inc.
Ghose was speaking at a session titled 'India, The Rise of New Consumer Segments' at the CII Marketing Summit 2007. Vijay Singh, president, strategy, STAR India, and Suresh Seethraman, president and founder, Virgin Comics and Animation, shared the dais with Ghose.
Vijay Singh talked about how the media was growing with the rise of the new consumer segment. "In 2002, we had 150 channels, currently we have around 300 channels and, by estimates, the figure will touch 1,000 if the media keeps growing the way it is now. The growth in media talks about the growing number of eyeballs. Surely, there is a new consumer segment that was left ignored till now. Suddenly, we see a burst of youth channels, almost a dozen channels are in the pipeline. Surely, 'Tweenagers' have arrived."
As per experts, Nouvea Niche is the key word for new marketers. The other segments are old and banal, but the new segment or the niche segment is what is getting the marketers excited.
Ghose added, "We don't understand the concept of multi-marketing, a concept that is very essential when you are selling your product to the new consumer. Bollywood is a prime example of opportunity missed. A film like 'Chak De! India' is merely a film and nothing else. No merchandise, no animation, no licensing. Major studios in Hollywood have raised a whopping figure of $20 billion merely through licensing and merchandising. Baseball in America raises $5 billion every season merely through merchandising. Imagine the kind of money we can raise from cricket merchandising here in India."
Ghose is using his company 'Kahani World' to create a number of kids brands throughout the world. The company is creating animation films based on Indian characters and culture. Among the various characters that the company is mulling over are Raju the Autorickshaw, expected to be released in the next two-three months; Chipkali World, about the world of lizards; and Coder Man, an India based computer nerd or super nerd. "Such characters will surely popularise Indian culture in the Western world," said Ghose. His company is also coming out with a series called 'Secrets of Seven Sounds', which he believes has the capability to make it as big as the Harry Potter series.
Virgin Comics and Animation plans to come out with four original Indian superheroes in association with UTV. "India has already seen a superhero of its own and it's time we created more such superheroes," said Seetharaman.
The Shakti line is the Virgin Comics' flagship line, featuring Indian mythology, art, history, classical stories, and other related themes. The Director's Cut series features film directors such as Shekhar Kapur, Guy Ritchie and John Woo creating comics, which have been described by Woo as "the ultimate storyboard". The Voices line (earlier known as the Maverick line) will feature new talent as well as actors and musicians. Additionally, Virgin Comics animators have worked on graphic novels, and the venture is linked to Virgin Animation.
"We are not merely about comics - we are coming out with 10 movies in association with Studio 18, which will be for the teen segment, and also a game on the 'Ramayana' with Sony and four superheroes with UTV," he said.