Children to get a dose of edutainment from Spacetoon

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 15, 2009
The Dubai based Spacetoon Media Group is all set to foray into the kids' entertainment genre with the launch of Spacetoon

The & #BANNER1 & # Dubai based Spacetoon Media Group has launched its children's channel, Spacetoon, in India. The edutainment channel will be free to air and is the ninth entrant in this genre.

The Spacetoon Media Group has an active presence in the licensing and merchandising business via Kids Media India (KMI). With Kids Animation India, the company will foray into the publishing business, too. KMI has licensing deals with brands such as Zapak, Bombay Dyeing, Lilliput and Portico.

The group owns one of the largest animated content libraries and has acquired a library of 4,200 episodes from various producers in Europe, Asia and North America.

Rajiv Sangari, managing director and chief executive officer, KMI, stresses that though it is a late entrant, Spacetoon is different from the existing channels in the genre.

Offering edutainment and value viewing to family and kids is the first difference the channel guarantees. "Our positioning is to educate and entertain, while providing meaningful entertainment. Our packaging is the key differentiator," says Sangari.

The channel will not air back-to-back shows, which is the format followed by most television channels.

Instead, "the whole day will be divided into planets in a time-frame of 50 minutes each, targeting each age group from 2 to 12 years," Sangari explains. For instance, Alphabet Planet will be for the 2-5 years' age group, Sports Planet for 5 years and above, and Zomorroda Planet for girls. This, he said, will ensure appointment viewing.

Around 90 per cent of Spacetoon's content will be outsourced internationally and only 10 per cent produced locally. The channel plans to foray into the regional market too, perhaps in partnership with a South India based broadcaster.

With an eye on the metros and smaller towns, Spacetoon aims to capture 40 million homes and a 10 per cent market share by 2010.

The company will not use mass media vehicles to promote the channel. "We won't use the conventional advertising platforms, but instead, will connect directly with children. We are targeting 3,000 schools across the country, educating them about Spacetoon," Sangari says.

The company claims to be spending Rs 3-4 crore on the promotion of the channel.

According to TAM Media Research, the share of the children's entertainment genre in the overall television space was 5.1 per cent in 2008, down from 5.4 per cent in 2007. The existing channels in this genre are Cartoon Network, Pogo, Disney, Hungama, Jetix, Animax, Chutti TV (Sun Network) and Nick. New broadcasters, such as Big Broadcasting, also plan to foray into this genre.