Toon jockeys to control kids' channel Nick

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | November 03, 2008
A relaxed and happy environment and a competition free platform are the key features of this talent hunt for TJs

They & #BANNER1 & # are the decision makers. They pick what they eat, drink and wear. Now, kids are all set to decide what shows should be played and at what time. Kids TV channel Nick is giving children a chance to be celebrities. It recently started an initiative called Nestle Munch Nick Kaun Banega Toon Jockey, a hunt for toon jockeys (TJs) to host its shows.

The TJ initiative was the result of a survey conducted by Nick across 15 cities in India, involving 2,300 children. The survey revealed that 31 per cent of the children preferred to be famous on TV, rather than be good looking or travel abroad.

Talking to afaqs!, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, senior vice-president and general manager, Nick India, says, "The insight for this initiative was very powerful. Kids love to talk about being on television and we are just fulfilling their aspiration without additional competitive pressure and stress."

Talking about the USP of this initiative, Jaipuria explains, "The big differentiator here is that there will be no grilling auditions and judgement like the other talent hunts on various kids' channels. We don't want kids with high IQ levels and exceptional looks; we are looking for real kids who are messy, dirty and fun, with a little bit of luck in order to win the contest." Those in the age group of 4-14 years are eligible for the contest.

Nick believes in the philosophy that there are enough things to stress children and television, particularly kids' channels, should not add to that. Instead, kids' channels should provide a relaxed and happy environment and a competition free platform.

Around three to five children will be selected as TJs and they will be seen on the channel through the day, informing viewers about what's coming up next, enacting their favourite characters or cracking jokes in the breaks. They could host an entire day or a festival and will help in the packaging, too.

The contest, which started recently, will go on till November 16 and will give the young ones a chance to not only win their tickets to fame, but also bag Apple iPod Shuffles and laptops. The winners will go on air at the end of December for two to six weeks.

This is not the first time a channel targeting kids has come up with such an initiative. Hungama TV introduced Captain's Hunt some time ago, which aimed to select kids to be on its board of directors and offer suggestions on the programmes the channel would beam.

Nick, a part of the Viacom18 Group, has started various initiatives in a bid to become a strong contender in the kids' genre. It is supporting the TJ contest with a robust 360 degree marketing campaign through cinema and retail tieups and massive van activation. Nestle Munch, Kissan Jam Squeezy, PVR and Westside are its partners in the hunt.

The campaign will reach out to kids in 40 cities across India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru as well as smaller cities in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Nick will also interact with kids through various touch points at Westside stores.

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