MUMBAI: Nickelodeon, the children's television channel, is exploring ways to extend its reach among the target audience and to bring more advertisers on board as a result.

"With children, it is about reaching them in their homes, schools and today, for the 'screenagers', the different screens they watch content on," Nina Elavia Jaipuria, evp/ kids cluster, Nickelodeon, told the Business Standard.

A twin-pronged approach has seen the company segment its audience, launching channels aimed at different interest and age groups such as action channel Sonic for 10-17 year olds, as well as seeking out opportunities to cross-promote its characters.

Jaipuria noted that children in different age groups had different entertainment needs and that the new channels did not cannibalise each other. Further, this multi-channel strategy was attracting new kinds of advertiser, including a range of non-child brands. "Lifestyle brands such as Reebok and Micromax might not have spent earlier but now they have on Sonic," she said.

In addition to extending its reach through new channels, Nickelodeon is seeking to leverage the strength of its network and to "cross-pollinate", introducing, for example, characters from one channel or show into another, a development that Jaipuria argued should attract greater advertiser interest: the children's genre currently claims a 7.5% viewership share but only 4.2% of advertising spend.

"It is time advertisers gave us our due," she declared. "We are reaching kids who, these days, act almost like in-house consultants."

Another tactic Nickelodeon is deploying for advertisers is aimed at bypassing the 12-minutes-per-hour advertising cap. "Instead of a passive placement, we wrote the product into the script," Jaipuria explained of one show where a character was required to drink a Horlicks variant.

All these strategies have been underpinned by the development of more local content, such as Little Krishna and Motlu Patlu, which have helped boost its ratings share.

On-the-ground activities, such as 'meet and greet' at malls, are also playing a vital role in popularising both Indian and international characters. And licensing is also growing – a recent tie-up saw pizza chain Dominos license Spongebob toys for Joy Box, a children's meal combo.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff