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Hungama TV to fight for ad share

Shuchi Bansal  |  New Delhi 

Come September and the action in the kids' television segment will heat up with the entry of United Home Entertainment's Hungama TV.
The country's first homegrown children's channel will vie with at least three other channels in the same genre "" Cartoon Network, "" for eyeballs and advertising. Soon, it will also from new which are expected to come to India.
But that has not deterred Hungama TV's chief operating officer from chalking out his strategies, which, he thinks, are based on sound logic.
India has over 315 million kids and one-third of the country's population is under 15 years. To cater to this segment, there is not a single 'Made in India' or local kids channel. "All the kids' channels beam international programmes dubbed in Hindi," says Bose.
He believes that the kids' segment in India is huge and expects Hungama TV to reach out to approximately 50 million children in 44 million cable and satellite homes. While the UK has over 15 kids channels for less than a tenth of the Indian audience, India, in turn, has three foreign kids' channels.
Advertising industry estimates suggest that, put together, the existing kids' channels and the children's slots on general entertainment channels like Sony and Zee, garner close to Rs 50 crore in advertising. But Purnendu expects this sum to grow.
"Why wouldn't an advertiser put in money in a vehicle that caters to one third of the TV viewing audiences," he asks.
Besides he quotes the pester power research which indicates that 30 per cent of the fast moving consumer goods purchase decisions are influenced by kids. Children also influence selection of brands for non-kids categories like refrigerator, music system and even cars.
UHE, jointly owned by Ronnie Screwvala (51 per cent) and UTV (49 per cent), will invest Rs 100 crore in the project and expects to break even in three years.
"It is a high cost operation as original kids' programming is expensive," says Bose. No surprise then there has been no attempt to launch an Indian TV channel for children and the foreign channels borrow or buy programmes from their libraries overseas.
For content, Hungama TV is looking at animation, fantasy, adventure, drama, live events and comedy. The well-known international company TAG has been hired for channel packaging even as Bose is putting togther a 100-people strong team for Hungama TV.

First Published: Fri, April 09 2004. 00:00 IST