Kids channel Nick will go off air on October 2.
No, the channel is not closing down but as a part of their pro-social initiative, 'Let's just play', it will go "dark" for an hour between 3-4 pm on October 2, pre-empting the channel's regular programming to air "play" messages, interstitials in its place.
This on-ground event is to encourage kids to spend the afternoon playing on the first-ever Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play and not remain glued to their television sets.
Although this goes against the policy of a television channel, Nick believes that what's good for kids, is good for the channel. Pradeep Hejmadi, director, Business & Operations, Nickelodeon India, says, "We would do anything which is relevant for kids."
He adds, "Indian kids are stressed for doing well in studies, tuition and this competitive nature of society has forced them to lead a generally inactive lifestyle. We want to bring them out of their home."
Whatever may be intention behind this unique initiative, it would certainly help the channel creating brand awareness among kids, which is its TG. Just recently, another competitive channel, Cartoon Network also initiated an event of a similar kind called Toon Games where kids along with their parents were invited to be a part of the show through school contact programmes.
'Let's just play' is also an intensive five-week school contact program starting from August 16, 2004. As per this programme, the channel would reach to about half-a-million kids in 400 schools in four cities - Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, simultaneously.
Through rounds of creative games, which include inventing their own games or altering existing games, few lucky kids will be selected for the final day where they would be taken to an amusement park in their respective cities to have a day full of fun.
In fact, Nick is making every effort to garner a larger share of viewership in the competitive kids genre which is being flooded with too many channels.
Several such initiatives in the past has helped the channel grow in terms of viewership.
As per TAM Media Research (C&S Homes, SEC AB, 4-14 years), the channel share of Nick has grown from 0.04 per cent in January 2004 to 0.39 per cent in May 2004. In fact, in the month of May, over half-a-million kids tuned into Nick in May 2004, exceeding all previous records.
Hejmadi says, "Being rechristened as Nick from Nickelodeon and the 12 hours of Hindi dubbed shows since May, has in a way clicked for the channel." He adds, "Saif Ali Khan endorsement of the Nick brand has also helped the channel in a big way."
The channel has also been successful in having a stronger distribution network by associating with One Alliance, which has helped it garner a larger viewership base.
Apart from these, the channel has been involved in launching a couple of marketing and on ground activities. In March, the channel came up with Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards contest where an Indian kid was selected to attend the awards in Los Angeles for the first time ever in April.
In fact, the channel is taking all initiatives to connect to the Indian kids. Nick tied up with Mattel Toys to create a new animated series of vignettes based on the toy company's recently launched toy line 'My Scene' targeted towards "tweens" with a watch-and-win contest tied around the movie, which also premiered on Nick.
The channel had also tied up with Asian Paints for the 'Nick Takes Over Your Home' contest. Kids have been auditioned at designated "Nick Corners" in lifestyle stores across five cities and a finalist in each city has been chosen. At present, vignettes of each finalist are on air and voting is in progress as to who among them is going to win the grand prize - a room makeover by Asian Paints and a chance to host a show on Nick.
While this unique initiative can certainly help Nick to create a brand among children, what needs to be seen whether it can be converted into viewership. Hejmadi says, "We will keep on adding innovative and interesting programmes from time to time to keep the interest alive among kids."
The channel is also planning to come up with some locally produced live action shows just for the Indian kids soon. © 2004 agencyfaqs!