Sumita Vaid

Turner International India to launch 24-hour kids' channel, POGO

With POGO, the group hopes to plug a yawning gap in the kids’ entertainment space – live action

When Time Warner company Turner International launched its animation channel, Cartoon Network, in India in 1995, it raised many eyebrows. After all, a 24-hour cartoon channel was not something Indians were used to watching.

Eight years on, the group is at it again. Only this time Turner International hopes to plug yet another gap in the kids' entertainment space - live action. While channels such as Nickelodeon (once part of the ZEE-Turner Bouquet) target a similar brood of viewers, the big difference is, it is not aired round the clock. Sensing an opportunity here, Turner International India announced the launch of POGO - a new 24-hour television channel created exclusively for kids in India - at a press meet organised in Delhi yesterday.

POGO will be broadcast via the PAS-10 satellite and will be available to viewers across the country beginning January 1, 2004, as part of the ZEE-Turner bouquet. This new offering from Turner would include multi-genre dramas, comedies, movies, animation and special documentaries.

Unveiling the channel, Anshuman Misra, managing director, Turner International India, said, "Moving beyond animation to kids' live action, POGO is a first for Turner, not only in India, but for Turner Broadcasting worldwide." While the channel brass has yet to talk to companies for advertising opportunities, it plans to bundle POGO with Cartoon Network and other channels in the bouquet for advertising and cross promotion. Misra adds, "We are confident that POGO will enhance our offering to advertisers, distributors and most importantly, appeal to our viewers."

The Turner group seems upbeat about the prospects of the channel. "Ever since we launched Cartoon Network in India in 1995, we have been closely monitoring the kids' entertainment genre. Recognising that television is an integral part of kids' lives, it is important to continue to offer them a choice of kids-specific multi-genre programming, on a destination aimed at them and a destination parents will want them to watch," says Ian Diamond, senior vice-president and general manager, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc. Diamond also mentioned that the channel would offer consumer local productions in due course and perhaps look at dubbing of these programmes in Hindi if consumer feedback point at a need to do so.

To get the mix right, the group had undertaken a research to find out how exactly the channel could aim to plug the gap. "Research shows a need for more programming dedicated to young kids and across a wider time band. In fact, our existing strengths in this genre point to early success of ‘Young Kids' mornings and afternoons on POGO. In line with research showing older kids view more programme genres, POGO's Kids Prime and Family time bands provide kid-friendly alternatives to existing fare on adult-oriented channels," adds Duncan Morris, vice-president, research, Turner International, Asia Pacific.

Programming on POGO is genre-based and has been divided under three key day parts, which include ‘Young Kids' (morning and afternoon), ‘Kids Prime' (early evening) and ‘Family & Special Events' (evening). For the youngest members of the family, POGO will have international shows designed to promote learning and development such as Barney & Friends, Boohbah, Teletubbies, Miffy & Friends, Tweenies and Ethelbert The Tiger. For older kids, the channel would showcase drama, comedy and variety shows such as Brum, Hi-5, The Sleepover Club and Beakman's World. Since family is also a segment that the channel intends to target through its offerings, POGO has programmes such as Wallace & Gromit, Mr Bean - the animated series, Lois & Clarke: The New Adventures Of Superman, and Walking With Dinosaurs. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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