Technology-savvy kids now to get help from television

Kids are forcing channels to go beyond television programming and adopt digital strategies. A Cartoon Network study New Generations 2011 (conducted across 19 Indian cities) confirms this trend. The report says: “Computer ownership among kids has grown to 22 per cent from 10 per cent, while mobile phone access is 95 per cent. Home Internet connectivity is also seeing an uptick.” The thrust across digital platforms intensifies during the summer break with traffic on kid channel portals going up by 30 per cent. Leading channels like Viacom 18's Nickelodeon, Walt Disney's Disney Channel and Hungama TV and Turner's Cartoon Network have appointed dedicated teams to harness the benefits of content, community building and interactivity on Internet and mobile phone. “Four years ago, the only gateway kids used to interact with us was the landline platform. This has now been overtaken by digital,” says Nina Jaipuria, vice president and general manager, Nickelodeon India. The easiest way to integrate a channel's on-air and online presence is by using popular TV characters like Dora, the Explorer, Mickey Mouse and Ben 10 online. “As kids engage with characters beyond television, be it digital or mobile, the bond with the character grows.” Teenage users like Sparsh Saxena seem to agree. “Logging on to the websites allows me to be closer to my favourite characters SpongeBob and Mickey Mouse.” He spends an hour surfing kids' channel websites. For Nickelodeon, the focus this season will be on building the first locally developed 'non mythological' animated character Keymon Ache. Games, which are the largest draw for kids on the online platform, will be the focus at Disney is following suit and claims it has the largest collection of games built around popular characters and movies. “The online version of Art Attack is one of our most sought after television shows,” says Nitin Chawla, vice president and general manager, Disney Interactive Media Group.