Sony's Animax may venture into adult content in the coming months - if everything goes well for the channel. Also on the cards could be 100 per cent Indian cartoon characters, instead of the current lot of Japanese ones - speaking Hindi and English.
Todd Miller, who is the managing director for Animax and AXN in Asia, explained to agencyfaqs! the channel's modus operandi of positioning itself as the preferred cartoon channel for young adults in the age group of 15-24.
"Cartoons in India are now equated with children's programming. The first and foremost thing for Animax is to change this line of thinking. We need to educate the market that cartoons are not just about kids. They, in fact, cuts across age boundaries," Miller says.
Animax, he says, is keen to capture the imagination of the youth in India with compelling storylines with imagination, excitement, romance and action that go beyond geographical boundaries.
Once that objective is achieved, Animax is "open to the idea" of introducing different genres in its programming package. Adult cartoons will be a part of this initiative.
Considering the fact that AXN, a sister channel of Animax, is no stranger to soft porn (the channel had shown at least one Japanese cartoon series - Dual - dubbed in English about two years back) the move by Animax is hardly surprising.
Hentai, or sexually explicit cartoons, for the record, are a big hit in Japan, where Sony Corp. is headquartered.
AXN also has first-hand experience of the fact that sex sells in India. The channel's post-11.00 pm time band 'Hot and Wild' is currently getting the maximum eyeballs among all non-film English programmes, as per TAM Media Research.
In fact, there was at least one week in May 2004 when AXN actually took the lead among all English channels with a channel share of 34 per cent; sexually explicit programmes like "Wild On" being one of the definite reasons behind the success. Interestingly, 'Wild On' had more female viewers tuning in than male viewers, and showed a seven-fold increase in AXN's female viewership.
Going by this logic, Animax could have actually launched its programming with some adult content. Miller says, Megazone which telecasts at 10-10.30 pm has got some elements of sexuality, but that is not overt. "There is no tantalising content in the current crop of programming," he explains.
"We did not include adult programming in Animax' launch because that would have been inappropriate". Miller explains, the channel may be aimed at young adults, but kids will be the first to savour it. "Any adult content would have offended their sensibilities, which Animax wanted to avoid at all costs."
According to him, adult cartoons with a certain degree of sensuality and titillation could be premiering in the late night slot at Animax, when the market for cartoon gets a little more developed.
The other strategic shift in programming, which is linked to Animax' success, is beaming programmes with Indian and made-in-India cartoon characters. Surely there won't be a dearth of either content or quality from Indian production houses, if Animax shows interest.
In fact, Indian firms like Pentamedia Graphics and others are known for their quality of work and are regularly approached by big Hollywood studios to do animation. Miller says, "Yes...serials could be commissioned to Indian companies, once Animax establishes itself."
All of these new initiatives are part of the channel's future growth strategy and not surprisingly, Miller does not offer to specify any time frame by when the next stage of programming will take place.
Until then, keep hoping... © 2004 agencyfaqs!