Market for India’s children’s films can also benefit from 4G expansion.
“Build a local industry with local characters. Find a niche and refine it. It’s possible to make it big with children content in India,” said Annette Brejner, head of Sweden’s Financing Forum for Kids Content at Film Bazaar’s Knowledge Series panel ‘Children’s Films and New Markets’.
A perfect example is Chhota Bheem, which has become India’s most popular animated TV show since its launch in 2008. “It all began with a dream. There’s no Indian content that could connect with children before Chhota Bheem,” said Rajiv Chilaka, CEO of Hyderabad-based Green Gold Animation.
Now Chhota Bheem is placed second, only behind Doraemon, in favourite Asian entertainment licensing and characters, and is ranked No.142 as the only Indian brand in the top 150 global licensors, according to research presented by Chilaka.
Capitalising on the success of its TV series, his company was the first in India to adapt a local TV animated series into film. Chhota Bheem Himalayan Adventures, the third in the franchise, will open on Jan 8, 2016. The first two films were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively, each with a local box office of $1m.
India has 18 children’s-oriented TV networks with animation presence, but local content only accounts for 13%, behind Japan (17%) and US (42%). But Rajiv believed children content is set for a dynamic growth once 4G is more readily available across the country next year.
“With 4G, streaming video sites would get more popular,” said Rajiv, who is planning to launch his company’s animation content on a new VOD platform in the first quarter of 2016.
Sweden-based Brejner further shared her insight for children content. “Children today are the most sophisticated audience of all times. They’re born into digitalization and are smarter than us. The task for us is to give them challenging content with high artistic nerve,” she said. “If you don’t have the content that can challenge them, you’ve nothing, regardless of all new technology and multiple platforms.”
Documentaries, in particular, are a fantastic genre for children, who are constantly seeking factual content on the Internet.