India's kids television space will get a new entrant in the form of Sony Yay!
It will take on rival channels from the likes of Disney India, Viacom18 (which runs Nick and Sonic), Turner India (Cartoon Network, Pogo and Toonami), Discovery Kids and Indian company SunTV's kids channels.
Sony Yay!, which is slated to go live on Tuesday, will primarily feature locally produced content, including animated shows such as Guru Aur Bhole, Sab Jholmaal Hai and Prince Jai Aur Dumdaar Viru, among others.
Sony Pictures Networks India says the channel is targeting kids aged 2 to 14, with the company's CEO N. P. Singh adding: "It goes without saying that the Indian television industry is at an interesting crossroads, with the kids genre being a front-runner in demanding innovation and freshness."
According to a recent entertainment-industry report by consulting firm KPMG India, local content makes up 50 percent of programming for leading kids channels, such as Nick. This is probably why Sony Yay! is also drawing heavily on homegrown fare.
SPNI's first foray into the kids television space in India was with Animax in 2004, offering Japanese anime content targeting a slightly older demographic. However, Animax is slated to go off the air and will shift to SPNI's digital platform SonyLiv, Singh explained to industry news portal indiantelevision.com. "Anime is popular with a very small segment of the audience," Singh said. "We will take away Animax and instead will give [viewers] the opportunity to view Anime on SonyLiv."
As part of its marketing plans, Sony Yay! has roped in upcoming Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff as its brand ambassador.
SPNI also recently launched Sony BBC Earth, a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for which it signed up leading actress Kareena Kapoor as brand ambassador.