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General News Sony Yay builds local characters to monetise
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[Image: SONY-YAY.jpg?itok=JweeHDrA]

MUMBAI: The Indian arm of the Sony Network had it all – GEC, music, film, sports, you name it. What lacked was a brand for the children of the country. That gap was filled when it launched Sony Yay! in April this year.

It’s not as if Sony was devoid of kids content. It launched Animax in 2004, a pure anime destination, but branded it as ‘animation for everyone – not just for kids’. In two years time, it dropped kids and plugged into the youth audience of 15-24 year olds and in 2006, it introduced live action.

Over time, the channel lost its lustre and the channel decided to convert it to Yay in 2017 and grab a share of the 2-14 age group. “Technically we didn’t replace Animax but it sort of gave way to our intention of launching into the kids space, which was the only missing genre for the network. Animax is still available for interested audiences online on SonyLiv,” says Sony Pictures Network India kids genre business head Leena Lele Dutta.

It was early 2016 when the network started researching on what Indian kids love to watch on TV and data pointed to three areas. “Firstly, they like to see funny, happy and laugh-out-loud animation; second they don’t want both animation and live action on the same channel and last was that local characters, local names, ‘takiya qalam’ words strike and instil a chord with children,” she shares. This led to picking 100 per cent animation over live action for Sony Yay.

Sticking to its principle, the channel tied up with local creators for four original animation series - Guru aur Bhole, Sab Jholmaal Hai, Paap-O-Meter and Prince aur Dumdaar Viru, 52 episodes per show. A fifth show, The Fab 5 – Initial Tango, will release during Christmas and the sixth original will be launched next year. “Slowly we will build new stories and characters to resonate with kids of today,” says an excited Lele. Soon it will build a movie bank for the Sab Jholmaal Hai franchise, similar to what Nick does with Motu Patlu and Pogo with Chhota Bheem.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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