There was no dearth of excitement in the kids’ entertainment space in 2017. Despite the digital onslaught, original content producers grew from strength to strength, keeping children enthralled on television. TV viewership grew during the year even as doomsayers predicted that the end of the good old box was nigh.

Among the major events of the year, Toonz India Media Group struck a deal with ReachMe.TV in the US to enable streaming of Toonz TV through the latter’s mobile web platform. Green Gold Animation signed a deal with Netflix for creating a spinoff of popular character ChhotaBheem for snippets of Mighty Little Bheem.

Here’s a look at what each channel did this year.

Disney

A favorite among young adults, the Disney channel is known for television programming for children through original series, movies and third-party programming. This year witnessed top-level corporate reshuffling. The company promoted Amit Malhotra as the country head for Singapore and Malaysia. Earlier, Malhotra was the general manager for media networks, responsible for businesses across all functions in the media networks in Southeast Asia (SEA). AbhishekMaheshwari was elevated to country head (India).

There were reports that Doordarshan was in talks with Disney for kiddy content in evening slots. Disney also launched a three-week campaign for merchandise, celebrating the spirit of sisterhood, featuring two young daughters and how the Frozen sisters inspired them in their day-to-day lives.

Furthermore, Disney’s sister channel—Hungama—came up with ChachaBhatija who go on a new adventure in the second movie.

Turner

Turner India creates and manages the sales, distribution and marketing of entertainment brands in India and South Asia, including CNN International, Cartoon Network, Pogo, Toonami, HBO and WB.

It turned out to be a fruitful year with great deals and partnerships. Turner India was successful in imparting a larger-than-life feel to its characters through a tie-up with Amaazia, an upcoming amusement park in Surat. The park is owned and operated by Gujarat-based Rajgreen group. Scheduled to open in 2019, the park will serve as a medium for Turner’s kids channel Cartoon Network (CN) to launch new products and conduct ‘meet and greets’ with its animated characters. Out of the four sections in Amaazia, only the theme park is branded by CN. The rest are a water park, family recreational hub, and serviced apartments and retail shopping area.

Apart from having a chase comedy in the bouquet, Pogo came up with another indigenous slapstick comedy show for its fans. Focusing more on home-grown content, TikTak Tail was the chase comedy that it experimented with in September and then came the slapstick show Andy Pirki. It also announced the launch of a brand-new show, Grizzy and the Lemmings. Moreover, Cartoon Network came up with the fifth and sixth parts of Oggy and the Cockroaches.

Discovery Kids

The channel announced a deal with IM Incorporated, a London-based content distribution company, to premiere Sunny Bunnies in India. Angry Birds Singthe Blues came up for the first time in Indian television in a series format.

Nickelodeon

This year, Nickelodeon came up with the Halo Movement—a new year-round pro-social initiative celebrating kids who are helping and leading others. In terms of viewership, too, the channel has done pretty well for itself. In week 50 of Barc data, the channel was ranked number one with 127600 impressions (000s) sum. Another important event was the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2017, which honored the best in the world of entertainment across film and television.

Sony Yay

On 18 April 2017, Animax Asia was replaced by Sony Yay. While the former focused on serving young adults, Yay concentrated on children of all ages. Animax was handed over to SonyLiv.

The channel is building local characters to monetize and launched four original shows Guru AurBhole, Sab Jholmaal Hai, Prince Jai aurDumdaarViru, and Paap-o-Meter and it holds the IP rights for all of them. The channel also associated with ‘animals matter to me’ to make Diwali ‘pawsome.’

Although 2017 wasn’t an eventful year, there were plenty of nuggets of action with the latest entrant, Sony Yay, throwing its hat into the ring and fighting it out with the existing players in the kids genre. We will have to wait and see how channels gear up to take on the growing trend of digital in 2018 and whether OTT adds significant value for kids. – Indian DTH