NEW DELHI: The children’s TV genre in India is expected to grow at least in line with the wider TV market this year, despite a minority watching kids’ TV channels, according to industry figures.

Last year a BARC research report observed how only 13% of children in the 2-14 age group watched children’s channels, while the remaining 87% viewed content on GE or movie channels – in part a consequence of so many households having only one television set.

The percentage of time spent by children watching kids’ channels has levelled off at around 20%.

Nonetheless, “I see a lot of growth this year, now that GST and demonetisation is behind us,” said Nina Elavia Jaipuria, business head of the Kids Entertainment Cluster at Viacom18.

“The category will grow 12%-15%, both in terms of viewership and ad sales,” she told Exchange4Media.

“The genre has a total of 7% of viewership on TV, but does not have more [than] 50% of Adex,” she added. “The kids genre is not the only category which is serving children, but the situation is getting better.”

Jaipuria, along with others in the industry, highlighted the increasing importance of local content in the children’s genre.

“The dependence on international content that we acquired from the West is going to dwindle and local IPs will evolve even more,” she said. “We will continue to grow as broadcast and local IPs and that’s the future.”

The localisation strategy extends to local language feeds. Only last week Turner India’s soft-launched its new channel Cartoon Network HD+ with Hindi, Tamil and Telugu feeds along with English, IndianTelevision reported.

It’s late to this particular strategy, as Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony Yay, Cartoon Network and Discovery Kids already have such feeds, while Sony Yay also offers Bengali and Malayalam feeds.

Where the children’s TV sector may lag, however, is in its willingness to promote new animated characters.

“If we launch a new character, we also need to establish them, and you need to have some kind of engagement with kids,” said Shibasish Sarkar, COO, Reliance Entertainment.

“The problem is, we don’t have that kind of funds available in India, because we are still growing and the industry is not that mature. Nobody is ready to put that much investment in.”

Sourced from Exchange4Media, IndianTelevision, TelevisionPost; additional content by WARC staff