Today, the kids' genre garners the third highest viewership on Indian television and that itself is testimony to the enormous importance of this genre within the television eco system. The genre has especially registered a spurt in growth both in terms of viewership and reach post digitisation. Over 370 million kids under the age of 14 years are discerning viewers. According to a recent FICCI-KPMG report, Hindi and regional GECs continued to be the key drivers of television viewership, accounting for 48 per cent of total viewership in 2013. The kids' genre in particular witnessed growth and its viewership stood at 7.5 per cent in 2013.
In 2013, the television industry continued its journey down the game changing path that it had embarked on in 2012. It experienced an unpredictable operating environment in 2013 with digitisation of cable achieving various levels of success in different regions, inclusion of LC1 (less than class I towns with under 0.1million population) markets in TV ratings, the 12-minute advertising cap ruling and the shift from TV rating points (TVRs) to TV viewership per thousand (TVTs).
A paradigm shift...
Today children play a crucial role when it comes to television viewing in the family. They demand variety, new concepts and characters. Though it is a highly populated television genre with a few major players, there is constant demand for unique content which offers a balanced mix of learning and entertainment. As we are living in the digital age, parents too are continuously thinking about which educational entertainment is best for their children. The concept of edutainment therefore is becoming a great platform for brand building.
It is thus imperative that TV channels respond to this need of kids and parents with exciting and engaging content 24 hours a day in the language they relate to and understand. For parents to allow kids to be receptive, they must believe that a channel is adding value to their children. This engagement is an emotional experience and so has a longer and deeper impact.
The goal ought to be...
As parents and teachers, we need to focus on the role television plays in the lives of our children. Television's availability, variety and ease of access make it unique. It can serve as a source of information, education, entertainment or escape. Ten years ago, it was all about Tom and Jerry or Charlie Chaplin. Today, the Indian kid wants to associate with the characters that he/she is watching. The industry believes that for content to be engaging and appealing it has to be relevant and the relevance only grows if the character looks familiar, talks in a language they are speaking and is in an environment that the child can relate to.
Kids today are going through a lot of stress, from parental and peer pressure to homework and even hobby classes for that matter. Edutainment shows take kids to another world of fantasy and imagination, which is relaxing and recreational.
The kids' genre today is no child's play. It is a competitive market considering the increasingly large volume of content providers. With an increased number of channels in a digitised environment, and with greater consumer choice, broadcasters will be pushed to deliver outstanding quality programming. The players need to be adept at technological evolution to ensure content is adaptable to new devices being created at every heartbeat. They need to have the ability to constantly create content that is engaging and innovative so that kids don't find it run of the mill and change their channel preferences. The need of the hour thus will be to create a safe environment for young viewers that parents can trust and also give them the reaffirmation that their children are exposed to high quality content.
(The author is managing director, India of Da Vinci Learning, a soon-to-be-launched kids' edutainment channel)