Discovery Communications (Discovery), owner of the Discovery Channel, has been prompt in introducing channels from its international portfolio in India. Its unit, Discovery Networks International, launched the latest channel — Discovery Kids. Adding on to the fast-growing genre of kids’ entertainment, Discovery Kids will include learning along with entertainment to tap the infotainment market in the kid’s genre in India.
Discovery took account of the demographics — 35 per cent of the Indian population are under the age of 14. Discovery India had also run a research in the past one year and the findings pointed out a need for a kids channel with differentiated content. Rahul Johri, senior vice-president and general manager-south Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, says, “Discovery Kids will offer Indian children an entertaining way to satisfy their natural curiosity and promises to ignite their imagination through stimulating programming. It will form the bedrock for development of their social, cognitive, emotional and personal skills. The channel will usher in a new wave of kids’ entertainment in India — one which will have them engaged and their parents satisfied.”
With parents-approved programming, such as adventure, history, nature, science and technology, the channel hopes to offer an alternative educational form to parents for their children. Discovery Kids will offer Indianised content from the beginning unlike other global channels that start with globally procured or syndicated content.
In the last three years, Discovery has strengthened its presence in Indian television from three to eight channels, available in English, Hindi and Tamil. Once digitisation becomes the norm from November 1, 2012, the scope for more number of specialist channels will open up. Discovery Kids is available in most of India on both analogue and DTH platforms such as Dish TV and Videocon D2H. In the next two months, it will be available across all regions.
The kids genre is the third largest after general entertainment and sports channels in terms of the advertising pie in India. The time spent on international content gets a further boost when the content gets dubbed in vernacular languages, something Discovery has done for its other channels. “Discovery’s content can be watched again and again. We are building distribution now with One Alliance. Just as our recent launch TLC redefined the lifestyle genre in the Indian television space, Discovery Kids will do the same in the kids genre as we get the economies of scale,” says Johri.
The channel will have distinct morning, afternoon and evening schedules, in keeping with the relevant viewer segments, ranging from pre-schoolers to teens, for their appointment viewing. “The programming is procured in a way that can help kids connect with their day-to-day lives,” says Johri. The Discovery Kids programming slate includes programmes such as ‘Kim’, Rudyard Kipling’s famous hero. ‘Adiboo Adventure’ unravels puzzling questions that often bother a kid. ‘Papyrus’ is a story of a courageous boy and his magic word that defends the ancient kingdom of Egypt. Bindi (the late wildlife expert, Steve Irwin’s daughter) travels to every corner of the globe to meet her wonderful world of wildlife in ‘Bindi, the jungle girl’. In ‘Sally Bollywood’, the protagonist’s intelligence and detective skills, leaves no mystery or case is too hard to solve, coupled with a dash of Bollywood flair. Gali (gully) cricket takes on a new colourful avatar in the unique animation series “Howzzattt”. Other shows include ‘Dex Hamilton’ and ‘Wild Kratts’.
The kids genre has attracted many launches in the past. There are around eight channels for kids. Apart from their flagship channels, networks have also launched additional genre channels. So, Turner has two channels — Cartoon Network and Pogo, Viacom 18 has Nick and Sonic Nickelodeon, an action channel for kids, Walt Disney has the Disney channel, Hungama, the Indian toon channel and Disney XD. The BBC is also present with its CBeebies, a channel for toddlers.