With the privatization of television broadcasting in the 90s, TV became the single-most source of entertainment for the people then but for a child in the 90s, there was a limited spectrum of channels making relevant content for them. Channels like Disney, Pogo, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Hungama ruled this market.
From mythology to mainstream media, Indian entertainment has indeed come a long way. The beginning of the 2000s saw an ascent of the internet which opened up a new, endless horizon. With digitization, now people had a tremendous universe of alternatives to browse, which resulted in a decline in the long-lasting dominance of television.
India post-Jio saw a brand-new wave of first-time internet users. The population of young users that crave relatable vernacular kids’ content surged as they were forced to stay out of school in the wake of the current pandemic. This audience group, hailing from Tier 2 and 3 India is what has come to be known as “Bharat”, as opposed to the evolved and exposed audiences of urban India.
With the rise in streaming media, content dissemination across global audiences has become faster and more efficient. Streaming media also provides the users access to a wider array of global content, just-a-click away. Entertainment is the key and layering that with a message is what makes animation special. In light of this, here are some recommendations for localizing children’s entertainment while making it more accessible and discoverable for Bharat:
Local Is The Operative Word Here
If we’re talking about ‘Bharat’, what sticks out the most is ethnicity. The content which is being made for local children should be made locally. These days, most of the content in this segment that is trending or is ruling the category are the ones that are being delivered locally. Even so, the children need to understand the local heritage, the culture, and the values from the content that is relevant to them and is “Made In India”, not from the content that is being produced outside and does not reflect the Indian values and culture.
Quality Dubbing Is A Key For Animation
If the need to import content is necessary due to the insufficiency of local content, then quality dubbing is a must for animated content. We come across a lot from outside which loses its context after dubbing. The key is, not to lose context. The content should be more engaging and meaningful to the children.
Poorly dubbed content or improper subtitles, create multiple perceptions and act as a barrier to the understanding of the kid. For kids younger than 12, subtitling alone is not possible and they must rely on an elder to sit adjacent to them and repeat what’s being said on the screen, which is not possible every time.
Need To Expand Into Multiple Media Franchise
There is a stiff need for expansion in the case of audio-visual media for children. The content should not just be limited to Television or YouTube, there is a need-gap for a multiple media franchise enabling multiple access avenues. A comprehensive channel approach is important to maximize the exposure and awareness of the content in this category.
Shorter Runtime Content Is Preferred Over Longer
Runtime becomes a concern while preparing content for children. Kids prefer shorter runtime over longer and are used to consume snackable content that is not more than 5 to 10 minutes long. Developing hour-long episodes for kids turns out to be a waste as it is very difficult for them to align their focus for so long and they tend to lose interest after some time and easily get bored of the content.
Merchandising Will Also Play An Important Role
The merchandising both physical and digital will play an important role in media franchise strategy. Merchandises are vibrant, fun, and truly loved by the little ones. With time, animation and the characters have become more than just entertainment. They have invaded almost every aspect of every kid’s lives- from the clothes they wear to the school supplies they use, and the toys they play with.
Kids animation can be engaging and instructive and can open up new universes for kids, and they inculcate a lot of values and learnings for the children as well. With the advancements in technology, this content has improved drastically taking the overall experience to the next level. The impact that these shows have on kids is massive and so is the audience watching them.
There is very little certainty in the future. It is very much possible that these digital platforms might take over or even replace TV someday, but with the rise of streaming media, the need for localized content becomes imperative every day.