Benita Chacko

New episodes, high decibel promotion make Hungama leader in kids' segment: Disney Star's Gaurav Banerjee

As per BARC data, the channel's reach rose by 29% and viewership by 45%, as compared to last year.

Summers are a great season for children's channels. With schools shut and kids at home, the channels make hay while the sun shines. It is a time to launch new shows, new episodes of old shows and innovative marketing campaigns.

This summer, Disney Star's Hungama launched 200 new episodes of its popular shows like 'Shinchan', 'Twinkle Sharma #0007' and 'Bhaiyyaji Balwan'. It also launched new shows like 'Chuck Chicken', 'Atashinci' and 'Tensai Baba'. These efforts seem to have paid back, with Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) data establishing Hungama as the leading children's channel this quarter.

The channel's reach rose by 29%, as compared to last summer. It experienced a 13% increase in the time spent viewing (TSV) and 45% growth in viewership, as compared to the previous year.

Gaurav Banerjee, head- content, Disney+ Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network (he is also responsible for Kids and Infotainment, Star Bharat, Hindi and English Movies cluster, Regional portfolio (East) comprising of Star Jalsha and Star Kiran), attributes Hungama's leadership to the strategic roll out of new episodes, amplified by the high decibel on-air promotion.

In an interview with afaqs!, he says that television continues to play a key role in Hungama's strategy.

Edited excerpts:

How has this summer been for Hungama? Any new shows or strategies?

We introduced 100 hours of fresh content, comprising a diverse range of global and local series, to cater to the evolving entertainment preferences of our audience. Our 'Majama Hungama' branding offered an opportunity for kids to experience sheer enjoyment by emphasising friendship, adventure and abundant laughter through our shows.

We premiered exciting new programs such as 'Chuck Chicken', 'Atashinci' and 'Tensai Baba'. Additionally, we continued to feature beloved favourites like 'Shinchan', 'Twinkle Sharma #0007' and 'Bhaiyyaji Balwan'. Our approach focussed on celebrating childhood - embracing every little emotion and behaviour of children.

We firmly believe that Hungama has always been regarded as a friend by kids. This summer, our brand remained their trusted companion, as they sought out our stories and characters, solidifying our position as a leading channel in this genre.

How has the channel's viewership been this summer?

Based on BARC data, the channel's reach rose by 29%, as compared to last summer, significantly impacting the genre's viewership. Despite already having the highest time spent in the genre, Hungama experienced a 13% increase in TSV. These improvements resulted in a 45% growth in viewership, as compared to the previous year, solidifying the channel's leadership position.

Hungama is competing with not only other children's TV channels, but also content on OTT platforms and social media.

We truly believe that TV and digital complement each other when it comes to entertainment. TV continues to play a key role in Hungama's strategy, as that’s where fans prefer to consume our content.

How does Hungama promote shows among its TG?

Hungama constantly explores various formats and concepts that embody the spirit of childhood, encompassing friendship, adventure and, most importantly, unbridled fun. To reinforce the brand's proposition, we developed a messaging campaign called 'Majama Hungama', accompanied by a fresh on-air design.

Our new look retains the essence of our previous packaging, while infusing a vibrant, colourful energy that captivates the Hungama audience, ranging from 4-14, as well as their families.

Additionally, we implemented a focussed communication and promotional strategy to introduce kids to our new offerings and enhance the appeal of popular shows to our audiences.

What is Disney's share in kids' segment?

Disney Star's kids portfolio comprises channels that offer unique and customised entertainment for the 2-14 age group. Our network's viewership has grown by an impressive 50%, solidifying our position as the top choice for kids' entertainment during the holiday season.

Furthermore, our content has always resonated with parents, resulting in a 40% increase in parental viewership. This establishes us as a destination that engages both the children and their parents.

Recently, guidelines were put in place with regard to children's advertising. Moreover, Unilever has decided to not target kids. How have these decisions impacted the ad revenue for children's channels? What are the different ways through which brands are reaching out to the kids through TV channels?

We strongly believe in the positive influence our iconic characters, engaging storytelling, and kid-targeted platforms can have on the lives of our fans. Adhering to strict guidelines across categories and brands, we partner only with like-minded brands that share our commitment, i.e., responsible marketing to kids.

At The Walt Disney Company, we established our own nutrition guidelines nearly two years ago, associating our kids' brands and characters with a nutritionally balanced range of foods. These guidelines promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables, while advocating for reduced intake of saturated fat, sodium and sugar, supporting a healthy and balanced diet.

To effectively communicate the message of healthy living, we have created engaging content across our TV and digital platforms. Over the past two years, we have developed series such as 'Disney Delicious' with IKEA, where a chef and child team up to create fun and nutritious recipes.

Additionally, initiatives like 'Let's Get Healthy' with renowned chef Gary Mehigan, 'Animated Shorts with Jojo', 'Healthy Hacks', 'Delicious Minis' and 'Stay Fit with Mickey and Minnie' have further promoted healthy lifestyles.

Moving forward, we will continue to provide opportunities that encourage wellness for all our fans, making it appealing and enjoyable for both the kids and their families.

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