It is not as if only kids channels are targeting children these days - even general entertainment channels have discovered the virtues of talking to kids and young adults. A case in point being English general entertainment channel STAR World, which has of late been targeting younger audiences with new programmes.
Last month, STAR World launched a couple of new shows aimed at improving its position in the English general entertainment space by addressing kids. As per TAM Media Research, in the last four weeks ending May 8 (C&S homes, 4+ age group), the channel share of STAR World was just 22 per cent, as compared to AXN's 55 per cent share in the English general entertainment space.
Among the newly launched shows, the one that attracted the maximum attention was India Child Genius, which had quizmaster Siddharth Basu leading the search for the smartest kid in the country. With India Child Genius, STAR World not only planned to broaden its viewership to include kids, but also attempted to Indianize its programming - which has been growing trend among international channels. Deepak Segal, senior vice-president, content and communication, STAR India, says, "The strategy behind the show was to add variety to the existing programming mix and strengthen family viewership in the India band, and also aims to fortify the channel's already strong India-centric programming band."
However, has the programming strategy clicked among the kids, the programme's core target audience? "The fact that 16,000 entries were received for a final selection of 320 contestants is testimony to the huge popularity of this show in the kids segment," Segal says. Vindicating STAR India's claims are figures from TAM, which show that the viewership of the channel has indeed registered an upswing among kids (in the same time band) after the launch of India Child Genius. As per TAM data, while the viewership of Style (the programme that India Child Genius replaced) was just 4 per cent in the 4-14 age group (C&S homes, SEC AB, M&F), there was a proportional increase of viewership to 12 per cent in the same age group, following the launch of India Child Genius.
The data also shows that there was a proportional increase in female viewership as well. While in the 15-34 age group (female), the viewership increased proportionally from 16 per cent to 19 per cent, in the 34-plus age group (female), the viewership increased proportionally from 20 per cent to 23 per cent. Interestingly, when it comes to male viewership, the viewership of STAR World dropped proportionally from 42 per cent (during the telecast of Style) to 24 per cent in the same time slot after the launch of India Child Genius. Gita Ram, regional director, OMS, cites a reason, saying, "The increase in female viewership for India Child Genius could be a function of dual viewership, with the mother watching the programme along with the kids." She adds that the decrease in male viewership could be attributed mainly to the difference in content in the two programmes; Style being a male-oriented programme, while India Child Genius caters primarily to kids.
Even reach-wise, there has been an increase in STAR World's viewership, post India Child Genius. In the 16th week of 2004 - when India Child Genius had not gone on air - the channel's reach was 13. This shot up to 75 in the week 17, when India Child Genius was launched. In week 18 of 2004, the reach of STAR World was 70.
The other programme launched recently by STAR World was Thunderdome - an extreme motor sports entertainment show, which replaced Mutant X. This new show also saw a spurt in children's viewership. As per TAM, the viewership of Thunderdome proportionally increased from 17 per cent (at the time Mutant X was on air) to 44 per cent (C&S SEC AB). Male viewership (15-34 age group) for Thunderdome also increased proportionally from 6 per cent to 24 per cent. But male viewership in the 35-plus age group decreased proportionally from 48 per cent to 15 per cent. The newly launched programme also had a proportional decrease in female viewership. While the 15-34 age group (female) contributed 11 per cent of the viewership to Mutant X, it contributed just 4 per cent to Thunderdome. Likewise, the 34-plus age group (female) contributed 19 per cent of Mutant X's viewership; for Thunderdome, the figure dropped to 13 per cent.
English general entertainment channel programming in India has predominantly been male-oriented, but a slight shift in the programming strategy at STAR World has suddenly increased viewership among kids. Whether this programming strategy is something that other English general entertainment channels would successfully replicate remains to be seen. © 2004 agencyfaqs!