Toons and teens on the board as directors? Children deciding on the content of a television programme? Like it or not, this has become a reality for the kids channels.
With advertisers led by Cadbury's, Tata AIG, Camlin, Kissan, Nestle, Maggi and Kellogg's ready to support such initiatives, kids channels are devising newer means to establish offline associations with children for their brands.
On July 1, Cartoon Network launched its nationwide hunt for television hosts to anchor different programmes on Cartoon Network. Walt Disney Television International (India), another childrens' channel, is reaching out to 800,000 students seeking feedback on Disney programmes.
UTV's kid's segment has just launched its second Captain Hungama Hunt. It will travel to seven cities and look out for seven captains who will form an integral part of the programming decisions for the channel.
Last year, 20 kids were picked up to advise the channel on its content. They were sending monthly reports to the channels besides offering instant feedback.
Says Vivek Krishnani, director-marketing of Cartoon Network and POGO, "This is our way of saying 'thank you' to the children who have been watching the Cartoon Network for over a decade. Kids will now become a part of the network by being television hosts."
The channel is targeting 16 cities to select six kids between the age group of 7-14 to make their television debut. It is one of the key marketing strategies this year.
Zarina Mehta, programming head, Hungama, says that kids will not only enhance the channel's programming but also become brand ambassadors for the channel.
"What was launched as a distinguishing feature for our channel last year has now become a brand driver," she pointed out.
Hungama's Captain Hunt will be held in seven cities to search for the seven captains who would join the Hungama board.
According to Hema Govindan, head of marketing and communications of Walt Disney Television International (India), kids are the most fickle of all consumers and owning their loyalty is very difficult.Hence, channels are required to introduce offline programmes to strengthen a brand's extension. Disney is reaching out to 800,000 students.