Cartoon Network targets tiny tots

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 22, 2003
The 24-hour children's entertainment channel has its sight trained on a relatively untapped market

Most kids' entertainment channels have targeted an audience up to 14 years of age. And Cartoon Network believes a subset of this population - primarily between two and six years - has largely been ignored. The reason? These children are too young to express their opinions. It is their mothers who determine their day-to-day schedules especially their TV-viewing habit even while juggling 10 other tasks at the same time. "Households with young children are quite chaotic," says Duncan Morris, vice-president research, Turner International, Asia Pacific. "Mothers struggle with a series of contradictory impulses and situations leading to conflict," he adds.

With a schedule so tight, qualitative time naturally takes a backseat, which is why Cartoon Network, the animated channel from Turner Broadcasting System Inc., is all set to launch an exclusive time band titled Tiny TV between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm on January 27, 2003 (on weekends it spans between 10.30 am to 12.00 noon).

The target audience - the mother with her happy-go-lucky baby or babies. "Focus groups among mothers confirmed that there is a lot of co-viewing among mothers and kids during late mornings and afternoons. Tiny TV aims at providing mothers and their tiny tots a safe and entertaining destination that brings together leisure and learning," asserts Morris.

And creating destinations or time bands is at the heart of the programming strategy of Cartoon Network, which was launched seven years ago and is currently ranked No 2 in terms of all-India channel share, states Shana Parihar, director - marketing & PR, Turner International India & South Asia. "By creating these destinations we ensure that kids interested in internationally renowned fare can tune in and watch their favourite shows at that point of time, ensuring appointment viewing in the process," she adds.

Typically, broadcast time on the channel is divided into different day parts, each catering to various segments of the viewing population. The morning band, stretching from 7.00 am to 11.00 am, is tilted Breakfast Toon with shows such as Dexter's Laboratory, and Scooby Doo among others.

The next is the soon-to-be launched Tiny TV, stretching from mid-morning to afternoon with shows such as Make Way for Noddy, Bob The Builder, Kipper, Oswald and Pingu.

From 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm, Prime Toon takes centrestage with popular cartoons that "have been around for a while" being telecast during this two-hour time band.

The next band between 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm is the kid's prime time band or Super Prime Time where the TV remote is effectively "controlled by the child", in the words of Parihar. "Our blockbuster toons, including evergreen classics such as Popeye, are telecast during this time band."

The 9.00 pm to 1.00 am time band is more of a "night shift" targeted at older audiences (that is young adults, mothers, older women, senior citizens) which incidentally make up 35 to 40 per cent of the channel's viewership base.

Of course, localisations in terms of content, as well as on-ground promotions and events have also been instrumental in increasing appeal and pushing penetration beyond the metro areas. "Hindi dubbing constitutes 16 hours of programming time in a day, whereas Tamil dubbing comprises 10 hours of programming time in a week," she claims.

The C&S reach of Cartoon Network stands at 18 million homes and its key advertisers include HLL, Nestle, Britannia, Cadbury, Dabur, Pepsi Foods, Top Ramen Noodles and Kellogg's among others. "Our fight is on with every other channel in the C&S space and not just networks within the kid's entertainment genre," states Parihar. "We are head-to-head with most others in the C&S space and plan to increase the pressure even further," she adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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