Sumita Vaid

Cartoon Network gets aggressive; ad revenues jump 47 per cent

Cartoon Network has a new mission: To be seen as a ‘general entertainment’ channel

Cartoon Network has a new mission: To be seen as a ‘general entertainment' channel.

Right now in terms of audience share for the 5.00 am to 9.00 pm band (among SEC ABC audiences in the four-14 age group), Cartoon Network runs second to STAR Plus (a general entertainment channel) with a 7.4 per cent share, while STAR Plus holds a sizable 11.71 per cent audience share in this time band, according to recently published TAM data.

This audience following can well be turned into an advantage, so thinks the Cartoon Network brass. That does not mean we will see Hindi soaps on the channel. That means we will see 400 new (half-hour) animation shows. Animation that appeals to all age groups. "These 400 new shows include franchises, Cartoon Network originals and acquired shows. In addition to these, there will be new shows on the existing cartoon characters," says Hema Govindan, vice-president, marketing & public relations, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia.

Among the new programmes, which have premiered this year (January-July 2002) are two new franchises, three Cartoon Network Originals and seven acquired shows. Time Squad, Samurai Jack and Grim & Evil are the three new Cartoon Network originals, which were launched in the first half of this year. Also launched were new episodes of other popular Cartoon Network originals such as Dexter's Laboratory, Courage The Cowardly Dog, Mike, Lu & Og, Sheep In The Big City and Ed, Edd ‘n' Eddy.

The acquired ones include Jackie Chan Adventures, Justice League, X-Men: Evolution, Dan Dare, Beast Machines Transformers, Thundercats, and Cardcaptors 2. Also in June 2002, a new series of Sailor Popeye called The All New Popeye Show and The Looney Tunes Show, that showcases some of the classic Looney Tunes shorts created by world-renowned animators Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, went on air. August is going to see some more new programmes.

This new programming blitz is aimed at broadbasing its viewership on the one hand and wooing advertisers on the other. And it seems the results have started trickling in. Sample this. In the year 2001 the advertising revenue of the network went up by 47 per cent over the previous year. And for the period January 2002 to May 2002, advertising revenues have gone up by 19 per cent over January-May 2001. Cartoon Network now has 42 more advertisers compared to last year. What is more interesting is the strange mix of advertisers looking at the channel.

The channel has categorised the advertisers under two heads - traditional and non-traditional. While the traditional would include breakfast cereals, bubble-gums, chocolates, ice-creams and toys marketers, the non-traditional includes companies like Intel, Med World Technologies, Microsoft, P&G, Philip Morris, Puma Ayurvedic Herbal, Titan, Daewoo Motors, Hindalco Industries, Gitanjali Jewels et al.

While this list looks like a strange mish-mash, advertisers have clearly realised the merit of parking money with the channel. That is understandable, given that 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the Cartoon Network viewers are above 15 years of age. "Earlier the approach of advertisers was indirect. They would target the secondary audience, the mothers, rather than the primary audience, the kids. Now they are more upfront. For example, the Pantene ad is shown on programmes like the Power Puff Girls that have a substantial viewership among girls," says Soumitra Saha, vice-president, advertising sales, Turner International, India.

But what's the reason behind the change of focus? "Indian advertisers are more informed. And Cartoon Networks is an opportunity for marketers to speak directly to kids. What we provide our advertisers are innovative client solutions and a conducive environment for them to successfully launch their products and establish a relationship with their target audience. They can advertise on the various programmes on Cartoon Network, the Cartoon Network website, Cartoon Network Stars' comic books (launched through an agreement between Warner Bros. Consumer Products Worldwide Publishing and Gotham Entertainment Group) and special events organised specifically for brands marketers. In addition we share a lot of kids research, which we do in collaboration with AC Nielsen," elaborates Saha.

Cartoon Network can offer another reason for advertisers to pump in the money. "The channel viewer now spends 50 per cent more time on Cartoon Network," claims Saha, quoting internal research data. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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