UTV's Hungama TV offers differentiation with Board of kid Directors Exchange4Media.com, Mar 19, 2004
UTV's Hungama TV offers differentiation with Board of kid Directors Kid's programming is proving to be one section that is picking action. For UTV-floated United Home Entertainment, launching a kids' channel was taking advantage of the fact that the domain promises potential and lacks competition. The channel's intention to showcase 100 per cent Indian content separates it from existing players but what is increasingly interesting about the segment is that the players are very careful, even if it is just about naming the channel.
UTV's foray into kids' entertainment space is called Hungama TV based on the findings of an ACNielsen research. A sample of 3700 kids across seven metros and eight small cities were asked to take their pick from five names that meant 'fun'. Says Purnendu Bose, COO, UHE, "For us, research will be an ongoing process to study kids' media habits. Our programming will be based on what kids want."
The channel has gone a step ahead to make that point. It has decided to constitute a governing council that would comprise of children only. However, how does the channel's operating team propose to implement this decision? Bose replies, "This Board of Directors would operate typically like Directors. Based on research and our initiatives, we will present this body with a shortlist of options that would culminate in programming, packaging, marketing and merchandising decisions. They would give their final seal of approval on all these elements."
How viable does the channel think this idea is? "It is a kids' channel and this will make it exactly that - a media entity for, of and by the kids" says Bose. And is the channel going to stick by whatever these children decide? "We did that when it came to the channel's name and yes we will do it in the future as well. They can reject all our ideas and we will go back to the field to research and come up with more ideas."
The channel does intend to launch a nationwide hunt to zero down on its Board of Directors. However, various details on this front have to be yet confirmed. As per Bose, logistics for this plan will be in place by mid-April. Meanwhile, research activities for the channel to understand kids' media consumption continue.
To base content on research does seem to be the order of the day for kids' programming. POGO, even with its own differentiated positioning did exactly that. Hungama's decision to not just base its endeavours on research but approve them by a governing body like this implies that the players are very vigilant about the nature of the category's development.
UTV hopes kids channel creates a Hungama Indiantelevision.com, Mar 01, 2004
UTV hopes kids channel creates a Hungama MUMBAI : Ronnie Screwvala's UTV Software Communications, which is launching a kids channel through its recently floated subsidiary United Home Entertainment (UHE), has finally homed in on a name – Hungama.
Detailing the funds route for Hungama, Screwvala said UHE proposed to raise Rs 750 million through private placement for which Lazard India had been appointed as fund managers. The remaining Rs 250 million would be equally shared between Screwvala himself and UTV (Rs 125 million each). Screwvala holds a majority 51 per cent stake in UHE while UTV holds the remaining 49 per cent equity.
Screwvala said UHE was on target as far as its proposed August launch of Hungama was concerned. Contentwise, the channel would be 90 per cent live action and only 10 per cent animation, Screwvala said.
As far as the distribution platform is concerned, UTV is talking to three players - Star, Sony and ESPN Star Sports. These three happen to be the same platforms that Disney is in talks with as well. The difference with Disney, however, is that it is in talks with Zee-Turner too. Information available with indiantelevision.com indicates that Disney will finalise its distribution partner by July.
As for Hungama, there are three distinct “prime time” bands that have been identified. The 9 am to 11 am slot is targeted at two-and-a-half to five-year-olds, the 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm band for 4 to 8-year-olds and the 4 pm to 7:30 pm slot for 8 to 16-year-olds.
Queried as to what would constitute the pre-schooler segment, he said it would be mainly muppet and puppet-based shows that would keep in mind educational requirements as well.
Screwvala says UHE finally settled on Hungama after shortlisting eight names. The name came up tops through polling among a sample group of 3,800 kids and 1,200 mothers from across 15 cities (13 Hindi-speaking, Hyderabad and Chennai).
Detailing the pre-launch promotional plans for Hungama, Screwvala said a 15-city roadshow would kick off end-May for a “Hungama board hunt”. One kid from each city would be chosen as a member of the board of the channel and would be responsible for routing feedback from their individual cities as to how kids were responding to the channel. Screwvala stressed that this was not some gimmick but what the kids had to say would be taken very seriously, so much so that every quarter the kids would represent their cities at the hungama board meeting.
The chosen 15 would have their own websites through which they would be interacting with other kids.