Alokananda Chakraborty & Prajjal Saha

Pogo moves towards localized programming

In an attempt at combating growing competition from existing and new kids channels, Pogo is in the process of restructuring its programming strategy for India

There are strong indications that kids channels in India are slowly but steadily finding their groove. While new channels such as Hungama (from UTV) and Animax (from Sony Entertainment Television) are scheduled for launch in the next couple of months, Nickelodeon has been re-branded as Nick, and now beams content in Hindi. In keeping with the trend, the other recently launched kids channel, Pogo, is also in the process of restructuring its programming strategy for India.

The channel has announced several initiatives that would help it combat growing competition. By the end of the year, Pogo plans to have 80 per cent of its programming in Hindi, a move clearly aimed at broaden viewership. "Research done by us suggested that there is a demand for Hindi content in the Indian television domain," says Ian Diamond, senior vice-president and general manager, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia. Currently, Pogo has two hours of programming in Telugu, while it is also exploring the possibility of airing content in Tamil. Apart from getting into vernacular programming, Pogo is also looking at sourcing content locally. "The channel is in talks with a number of Indian production houses to launch original programmes exclusively for Pogo," reveals Diamond.

As a first step towards localized content, the channel is launching a new show, Prime Pogo, starting August 6. The programme - which has been produced by Gavesaa Enterprises (a production house that has been making documentaries for Channel 4 and ad films for brands such as LG and Ariel) in association with the channel - will have two Indian hosts; Niall Sadh (a well-known face in television commercials) and Nisha Lalvani (popular television actress). When probed on how the show would be different from the kids-only fare on general entertainment channels, Diamond says, "There will be lots of interactivity between the hosts and the viewers on this programme." He adds that the hosts would go into the streets and meet people, apart from engaging viewers with online contests, phone-in competitions, celebrity guests and special reports on wonder kids from all over India.

In another initiative aimed at adding an edge to its programming, Pogo is premiering Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone for the first time on Indian television on May 28 at 7.30 pm. The channel would also telecast a special programme on the making of the movie an hour before the movie telecast. To promote the premiere of The Sorcerer's Stone, Pogo would be launching campaigns targeted at viewers as well as the trade (broadcasters and the advertisers). To this end, the channel would be using media vehicles such as cross-channel promotion, print, outdoor (billboards and mobile vans) as well as the new media platforms such as email alerts. Pogo would also air family movies such as Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory as part of the summer special initiative, ‘May Movie Magic'. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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