Prajjal Saha

Cartoon Network, Pogo pump up to retain leadership

Cartoon Network launches on-ground activity Toon Games, while Pogo is set to launch five Indian shows

With the kids genre of Indian television suddenly ready to be flooded with many channels, market leader Turner International has gone aggressive to retain the position of its channels - Cartoon Network and Pogo.

While Cartoon Network has launched an on-ground activity to create brand awareness among kids and their families through Toon Games, Pogo is all set to launch as many as five Indian shows.

The big-bang marketing activity is obviously linked with the growing competition in this segment since kids will soon get to choose from seven new kids channels, apart from the existing ones.

Anshuman Misra, managing director, South Asia, Turner International, denies this, describing this as a co-incidence. He says, "We have been aggressive from the very beginning and this wouldn't be the first instance, where we have initiated an activity like this."

Among Cartoon Network's successful initiatives from the past, there was 'Bano Toon Star with Scooby-Doo and Max' which was a co-promotional deal with Kwality Walls with Scooby-Doo as the brand ambassador.

The ongoing initiative undertaken by the channel is 'Britannia Little Hearts Toon cricket contest'. Here, mini cricket comic books are being given away free with the purchase of every 100 gm pack of Britannia Little Hearts biscuits. The story of the comic book revolves around the cricket matches among toons of Cartoon Network such as Powerpuff Girls, Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry and Dexter. There are 11 books in the series and the last one will contain details about the final match of the series.

What makes Toon Games special is this - Cartoon Network, for the first time, has made an effort to bring the toons alive in the real world. The event will be held in four cities across the country - Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. Over 6,000 people (kids with their families) will make it for the event on an invitation. While the invitation can be won through on-air and online contests, passes will be also distributed through the school contact programme covering 400 schools and approximately 4 lakh kids in the four cities.

Advertisers seem to have liked the concept too; Cadbury's, Boost, Kellogg's, Faber-Castell, Kwality Wall's, Samsung, and P&G are the prominent marketers involved in the show.

Ian Diamond, senior vice president, general manager, Turner International, says, "We want to make Cartoon Network a lifestyle brand and take it beyond the four walls of television."

Turner also has some big plans for its other channel Pogo. Diamond says, "We are planning five half-an-hour locally produced programmes for the channel. This 26-episode programmes will have drama and sitcoms, especially designed for kids."

Diamond adds, "We had realised it much earlier that localised content is extremely important and that is the reason why, we have eight Indian shows on Cartoon Network at present. For Pogo, we have just initiated a similar process. The programming at kids channels should be a mix of both international as well as Indianised content. While Pogo can't go ahead without local shows, it also needs to have Harry Potter movies, which are equally popular with the Indian kids."

Recently, Turner internationals has hired two professionals Jules Fuller and Elias Kazmi to head Pogo's first-ever original production unit in India.

So, will there be a ratio of Indianised and international content for kids channels? Diamond said, "We do not strategise our programming that way. We only look forward to unique and quality content."

Diamond has a reason to explain the sudden boom in the kids genre. "With 335 million people in the country below the age of 15, this is one segment which just can't be ignored. Above all, they have started playing a bigger role in influencing purchases across all categories," he says.

This explains why Turner's channels have seen a rise in the number of non-traditional advertisers like HPCL, Maruti, LIC, All-Out, Citibank, BPCL, NECC, Asian Paints, Balsara, Indo-National, and some others.

Kids, clearly, are bossing around these days. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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