Now, Nick heads South

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | May 17, 2010
The kids' channel, like others in the genre, will now be available in Tamil and Telugu

Nick, the kids' channel from Viacom 18, has forayed into the South market. Some of its shows will be available in Tamil and Telugu, in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.

Nick wasn't available in the South until now. But that is set to change, with the channel's efforts on the distribution and content fronts. The channel is being distributed in Tamil Nadu through Sumangli Cable Vision.

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Talking about why the South is a key market for kids' channels, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, senior vice-president and general manager, Nick India says, "Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are two states, where the primary languages are Tamil and Telugu, respectively. There is no secondary language here. So, it's important to connect with them in their own languages."

On the other hand, in Kerala, while the primary language is Malayalam; the secondary language is English. Similarly, in Karnataka, which houses a cosmopolitan population, English and Hindi both work as secondary languages.

To begin with, Nick will air three of its flagship shows -- Dora the Explorer, Ninja Hattori and Perman - in the two states. "We want to first understand the psyche of the viewers there; see what is working and what is not. Based on the viewership garnered, we will look at dubbing more shows," Jaipuria adds.

South India is also a crucial market for FMCG advertisers. Apart from Sun Network's Chutti TV, a Tamil language kids' channel launched in 2007, there are no others in the market. Most national kids' channels, however, have regional feeds.

Among these, Cartoon Network is available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Pogo is available in English and Hindi. Disney is available in Hindi and English; Disney XD in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu; and Hungama in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Clearly, the South is a market kids' channels can't ignore. "Markets such as Tamil Nadu are huge for categories such as confectionary and other kids' related categories, which make it a priority for broadcasters," says Kajal Malik, vice-president, Lintas Media Group. Some of the top advertisers on kids' channels, as per TAM's AdEx data are: milk beverages, chocolates, chewing gum, sugar confectionary and biscuits.

In future, kids' channels may look at other regional languages too, such as Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. However, since Hindi is the secondary language in all these markets, going regional there is not high on their agenda.