How child audience is vital for an FTAs success

An alteration in mindset over a particular form of business (in this case, BARC did the job) can do wonders to build your business to bigger heights. All channels were Free to air initially, but, in the late 1990s led by Star Network, the suit, which was then followed by other channels in the Hindi GEC and regional GEC space. But many networks, then subsequently launched FTAs (Free to Air) channels cloning their mainstream GECs by airing re-runs of their original shows on the mainstream channels. In this post I will discuss about the need and demand for children-oriented content on the FTAs to gain loyal audience bases for these FTAs.


BARC ratings on week 16,2015 released combined urban+rural data of viewership

Free to Air channels has become an important asset after the combined BARC ratings were out.


Why do large networks need an FTA


FTAs were launched as a feeder content distributer of their mainstream GEC channels on DD Freedish network. Basically not at mainstream monetizing, but just to give a push to show at what capacity their channel can launch content, thereby pushing them to watch their mainstream GECs either by paying for it or online viewing(Rural India consumes most data on mobile by online streaming of videos).


Hindi Speaking Markets are targeted by a number of channels both paid and free channels

Today in India there are many TV channels some on the pay DTH and others on the DD FreeDish


But when the BARC ratings in week 16, 2015(i.e. Combined rural + urban data) were out, it puts the entire industry to a shock that an FTA is challenging their own mainstream GECs and making other channels run for their money. ZEE Anmol for some weeks took the No.1 position in Hindi GEC space piping down the market leader Star Plus in late 2015.


Who led the baton for an FTA GEC space


Star Utsav led the baton of launching an FTA in 2004, by telecasting re-runs of, its successful shows on Star Plus and Star One (now re-branded as Life OK). This was done to get a larger pie on the DD FreeDish market and more advertisers on board the Star Network, promising a better reach there by a win-win situation for both Star Network and advertisers.



How channels are wooing to get more loyal viewership through child audiences


Kids are more prone to attractive content. They continue to loyally view their favorite shows despite it has lost its initial charm. Secondly, in India today, unlike the olden days parents are more possessive towards their children’s likes and dislikes. They care for their children much more than in the past.


TAM was replaced by BARC ratings but combined rural+urban data in 2015

FTA GEC space gained importance once TAM ratings were replaced by BARC ratings as the rating currency to be adopted



Same applies on TV as well. A father is ready to give up his favorite cricket match not for TV soaps, but yes for a child’s demand to watch their shows. Most of the parents sit with their children to watch the same shows despite no interests.


But yes, when I was a child, mom watching her favorite soaps I used to wait eagerly to watch the ads as they were more fascinating than the soaps. The same mentality works here too. Parents (even they don’t accept it) feel better to watch ads rather the boring childish shows.


This is where the target of the channel comes in. By giving in some air time for child-oriented shows, they can advertise their other shows on the same channel thereby increasing the chances of new viewers for their shows on the FTA network.


Then why all channels are doing so. Let’s assume that 6 children are sitting together in a government school (3 on each side) during their mid-day meals. During their conversation, they speak about a show on a different FTA which is better than what they watch daily. To check out, the kid does check out the show and most children like to watch shows which their friends watch increases chances for new loyal viewers for a particular FTA. Like if a kid is watch Dora the Explorer on Rishtey and the next day some of his friends are discussing about BaalVeer on Sony Pal, this opens room for new viewers on Sony Pal which turns loyal with time with other offerings like CID, Taarak Mehta, etc… on the channel, a thumbs up for the channel’s strategy.


Let’s come to the advertiser’s point of view. As most channels are filled with daily soaps, advertisers don’t find space to advertise their wide variety of child products in the FTA GEC network. Unlike in the pay channel market where there are separate cartoon and comedy channels, nothing is present in the FTA GEC space. The children-targeted shows serve this purpose. Secondly these shows are placed keeping in mind the different age-groups(like when Montessori kids return homes or when class 5 students have their evening snacks at home before going to play, etc…) so that advertisers find a genuine reason to advertise for these shows on the FTA.




FTAs are happy as they are getting more advertisers on board on their network

Advertisers are happy with the new format created by FTAs to target child audience.


Let’s see generally what are different channels offering to woo child-audiences


Viacom 18 hosts channels like Colors, Nick, etc.... shows from this are having successful re-runs on rishtey.

This channel was launched by Viacom 18 which broadcasts re-runs from other channels on its network.


The channel has set up two different time slots one being 9-11 am and next slot being 5-6 pm slot. They run shows like Dora the Explorer, Motu Patlu, Pakdam Pakdai, Keymon Ache and Jungle Book. The 9-11 am slot is for the play school and Montessori going kids whereas the 5-6pm slot is for the kids in class 1-5 who return from school around the same time.


After the failure of Sony Pal as a mainstream GEC, the network converted it into an successful FTA

Sony Pal is the FTA channel by the Sony Pictures Network re-runs from channels of SET and Sony SAB


The channel has kept telecast of BaalVeer at 11am in the morning as a one hour show for play school returned kids and a 7:30-8:30pm slot for BaalVeer and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah during their dinner time/when they return from play. You may think what one show can do. Due to immense popularity of BaalVeer, SAB TV has partnered with Toy-Kraft to launch board games with the basic theme on the storyline of the kid’s super-hero BaalVeer.


It caters child audience by broadcasting shows like Chacha Chaudhary, Sindbad, etc...

This channel is run by Indian Media Mogul’s(Subhas Chandra) ZEEL group. It currently broadcasts re-runs from ZEE TV and &TV


The channel has set up a Sunday time slot every week early in the morning 7-9am slot. This slot is positioned to target the Sunday morning breakfast audience which is parents who loved to watch their old pastime like Chacha Chaudhary, Sindbad, etc… and the today’s generation kids such that the channel can use it as a platform to advertise the shows on the channel.


Reliance Broadcast Network Limited runs the Big Magic Network

Big Magic is the flagship channel of RBNL group which broadcasts comedy shows for its audiences


The channel in December 2015 joined the DD Freedish network has set up a 3:30-5pmslot for kids of class 1-5 returning from school with shows like Vikram and Munja, Chota Birbal, etc…


Star Utsav had telecasted shows like Son Pari, Shakalaka Boom Boom, etc... to get success

The first successful FTA was launched by Star India currently broadcasts re-runs of successful shows from Star Plus and Life OK


This channel currently isn’t broadcasting any children-targeted audiences but yes, they achieved their desired viewership initially with children-oriented shows and now getting good ratings from its loyal viewership from female centric shows. Secondly, Star Plus has one of the most rated shows in the Hindi GEC space, making it a content king even in its FTA channel Star Utsav.



Hope you liked my post. We may see a differential Hindi GEC space with unique channels and content on the FTA too, making a broad division between pay and free markets in India which is very fruitful for large TV networks and advertisers. Hindi GEC space resembles a Gujarati Thali today.


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