Prajjal Saha

Animax plans a comeback with Godzilla & Jackie Chan

The channel hopes to increase its viewership base with familiar characters such as Godzilla and Jackie Chan

Remember Animax – the animation channel from Sony that had made its debut last year?

The channel never found many takers as Indian viewers did not relate to the shows and characters on the channel. That was because Animax has been showing mostly Japanese animation and Japanese characters, which the Indian viewers were not very familiar with.

All that is going to change. Rohit Bhandari, director, sales & marketing, South Asia - Animax, says, “We are aware of this fact and we have learnt from our mistakes. This is why we are now introducing new shows with characters that the local audience can relate to.”

The channel is launching two new animation series – Godzilla and Jackie Chan's Adventures. Godzilla is based on the blockbuster movie of the late '90s that puts humanity against a new generation of giant monsters; the animation series takes off from where the movie had ended.

In the movie, the story ends at a juncture where all the eggs of the monster Godzilla is destroyed, expect for one. The story of the animated series starts where one of eggs hatch and a baby Godzilla is born. However, in the animated series, the central character – the baby Godzilla is a positive character.

Bhandari says, Jackie Chan and Godzilla are familiar names for the Indian viewers. “We are expecting that these hows will not only get viewers, it will also generate viewers for other popular shows and characters such as Astroboy.”

One of the best ways to familiarise cartoon characters is through Indianisation of the content. Bhandari feels this is not a a feasible option now as the cost of producing animation shows around local popular characters is very high, and to support that one needs to have a substantial viewership base. He says, “At present, our viewership base is very small, we are planning to widen our viewership base first, and then invest on such properties.”

He adds, “However, our creative team in Japan is working to find out familiar international animated characters for the Indian viewers. But as part of our localisation drive, we have already changed our language from Hindi to Hinglish, which we feel is more commonly used.”

The channel is planning to beef up its marketing activities too. Animax has launched an on-air contest - 'The Great Godzilla Egg Hunt' as part of its promotional activities. Viewers are required to count the number of times they spot the Godzilla egg, while watching the first Godzilla series. Once they spot the eggs, the viewers can send in their responses through SMS or e-mail and await the results to win exciting prizes.

Apart from this, the channel will also organise a Godzilla school tour, where it will take a life-size Godzilla to around 30 schools in select metros. Similar visits to malls and multiplexes will be organised as well. In fact, at malls and multiplexes in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, Animax is organising an on-ground game, where kids will be asked to locate a Godzilla egg, hidden in the building.

Till date, distribution has been one of the weakest fronts for Animax. The channel hopes to better its records now. Bhandari says, “We are trying to leverage the strengths of the OneAlliance bouquet to strengthen our distribution and penetration. A proper plan for distribution will be chalked in the next 3-4 weeks.” © 2005 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us