Into its 10th year, Pogo is all set to remain on children’s popularity chart

A study conducted in the late 1990s about media habits, influence on decision making and academics, etc. of children in India revealed that while animation in cartoons was the top preference of their viewing repertoire, there were other predispositions which one had not catered to. Based on the findings, the Pogo channel was launched on January 1, 2004, by Turner Broadcasting (TB) in India to target viewers in the age group of four to 14. The 24-hour channel in its 10th year here now.

Krishna Desai, Senior Director & Network Head-Kids, South Asia, Turner International India P. Ltd., says“The seven-year-old child from central India” is for whom the programming, messaging and communication is created. Having an all-India market, the content of course tries to cater to all types of demographic segments of the urban areas which are classified on the basis of sex, socio-economic status, etc. Terming Pogo as “pan-India” in nature, Krishna says, “We do not restrict ourselves to specific age groups and regions”.

The programmes are telecast in four languages — English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. To ensure proper dubbing, each show uses “a distinct voice for every character” with some shows utilising several voices. The vernaculars have been well received by the audience and there may be expansion to other Indian languages in the future.

Looking back at the last decade, he calls Pogo a “responsible channel with the sole objective of entertaining”. About 75 per cent of its programmes are indigenous and the remaining foreign“are produced and chosen after due to diligence.” Krishna adds, “The network has real-life activities for children, both online and on-ground. The online format has games, videos and clips for the children and provides content information. Under the latter initiative, school contact programmes are undertaken thereby reaching thousands of children. Popular characters interact with students and drive home a message, for example, about environment, ecology, etc. thus spreading awareness and moulding the future generations. Further, the channel also partners with different brands to provide entertainment and activities to the children in malls and stadia.”

Their studies have revealed that “year-on-year, there has been marked increase in the quality and quantity of a child’s influence on the household decision”. He says the figures and observations are brought to the attention of advertisers in order to convince them to run campaigns in the channel. Interestingly, he points out that 20 per cent of a child’s television viewing profile comprises of kids’ channel. According to Krishna, 40 per cent of the advertisers on the channel do not target kids.

Viewing Pogo’s future in India as “very positive and bright”, Krishna says children will view exciting and entertaining new content on their existing shows apart from introduction of new characters and serials.