Anirban Roy Choudhury

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

Disney India's new 35-seconder ad to promote its 'Kids Pack' mesmerised experts.

Broadcast conglomerate, Disney India, rolled out a new commercial which, according to KV Sridhar (Pops), founder and chief creative officer, HyperCollective, will make parents think - "Oh s***! What have we done?" In the film, a young girl behaves in a manner that catches her mother completely off guard in a rather amusing way.

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

Disney India's new 35-seconder ad to promote its 'kids Pack'

When asked a simple question, the girl takes an overly melodramatic stance, complete with a highly articulate monologue. The child's behaviour is indicative of the kind of TV programming she is subjected to, i.e. Indian soaps etc. And that's where Disney comes in with its Disney kids pack for Rs 10. After watching the film for the first time, Sridhar's immediate reaction was, "You do not want your children and grandchildren to be like that..."

Disney India's in-house marketing team conceptualised the film to promote its kids pack.

In February 2019, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) imposed the New Tariff Order (NTO), a regulatory framework where consumers subscribe to the channels/packages of their choice. Since then, all major broadcasters began rolling out commercials to promote their packages.

"Most of the broadcasters started advertising as early as February and used TV/Bollywood celebrities to push their packages. Ultimately, consumers preferred what they wanted. Here, the treatment of the advertisement is so dramatic, it truly stands out," says Sujata Dwibedy, Group Trading Director, Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network, India.

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

Sujata Dwibedy

She adds, "The communication that kids should watch their content and not what's meant for older people is powerful and has an emotional connect. Unlike other ads where celebrities said they were missing their favourite TV shows or what could be bought in a certain package, this creative takes a swing on a mundane conversation and twists it into drama. It touches two sensitive points - that kids must watch a different genre and that they imitate what they see."

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

But do kids really watch GECs and daily soaps? Yes, they do. According to BARC India, in 2018, kids contributed 15 per cent of the total GEC viewership, it was 14 per cent in 2017. kids contribution to Movie Channels' viewership in 2018 was 13 per cent and they also watch Music, Youth and Sports. In terms of viewership share, the kids genre stands six per cent, falling below News (seven per cent), Movies (24 per cent) and GEC (53 per cent). The average time spent per viewer, per day on TV in India, as per BARC, is 3 hours 44 minutes. India has close to 19.7 crore television homes, of which 98 per cent are single TV households. So yes, with single TV households everywhere, kids are exposed to a lot of TV content.

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

The Walt Disney Company, which now owns 21st Century Fox and thus, Star India, entered the country by acquiring Ronnie Screwvala's UTV studios. In 2006, Disney first invested in UTV to acquire a 14.9 per cent stake. In 2012, the California-headquartered media behemoth, under the chairmanship of Andy Bird, announced that it acquired a controlling stake at UTV and later rebranded it to Disney India. The television business of Disney in India remained a niche offering as the network never had a driving GEC. However, it was number one in the kids genre with a 32 per cent market share followed by Viacom18's Nickelodeon at 28 per cent, and Turner at 19 per cent (pre-NTO). Discovery kids, Sun and Sony Yay are also gathering viewers making the kids genre more competitive than ever. About Rs 550 crore of advertising money is spent on the genre, most of which is during the summer and winter vacation.

Post NTO, according to experts, Disney suffered a decline in its reach. One expert was quoted as saying, "Disney's leadership position in the kids genre is under threat as Nickelodeon's Sonic and Nick junior, because of its distribution muscle, are growing thick and fast." Nick is the number one channel in the kids genre currently, followed by Turner's Pogo and Disney's Hungama.

Dwibedy feels the film should be promoted on TV (SD + HD) as well as OTT platforms. "The wider it reaches, it would have better impact. OTT brings the incremental reach. If the team does video planning as we do in our organisation, across multiple screens, the best mix with the best ROI can be achieved." she opines.

She also believes that the kids are huge influencers on such decisions, so video on mobile would work well. "Video on gaming sites, which kids normally access through Moms' phones to play games, have high affinity, so that should also be explored," adds Dwibedy.

It could be a desperate move, but it is a creative one...

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

Rohit Raj

Rohit Raj, co-founder and creative chief, The Glitch, says he found the ad to be really powerful in driving the message home. "It mirrored an insight which is every parent's nightmare - that of their child emulating what they see on TV and picking up habits accordingly. The execution of this insight is really the cherry on the cake that makes the viewer wonder about the impact it has on their child. The price-point coming in at that moment closes the loop perfectly. I found this ad really effective and a great translation of a strong insight," says Raj.

Don't let 6-years-olds become TV vamps, cautions Disney

KV Sridhar

The ad got Pops thinking about a film director's television interview he recently saw. The director said he does not have a television set at home as he believes that TV takes kids away from books and if kids do not read, their imaginations will not develop. Pops also believes that the content aired on GECs have lost the values they used to retain in TV's early days. "We watched Ramayan, Mahabharat and other entertaining shows which were not offensive, did not have abusive language and so there was no harm in watching TV for an hour a day... today it is different. Kids and older folks do not have anything to watch on TV and they are mostly compromising as per the preferences of housewives and husbands," he says.

"A few seconds into the film, you realise that the kid is actually mocking protagonists from serials and talking the way they do. The shows that we watch at home and the commercial, communicate where it came from. Any amount of scolding will not help after that, so, it is an important message that goes further beyond selling the bouquet of channels; it sells a value to parents, which I really liked about the ad," he concludes.

Have news to share? Write to us