Noel D'souza
May 04, 2023

FICCI Frames 2023: Gen alpha is disrupting content formats

At FICCI Frames 2023, a panellist decoded gen alpha’s consumption habits, challenges and opportunities amid disruption

From left: Uttam Pal Singh, Leena Lele Dutta,Sourabh Kumar,Madhoo Shah,Manoj Mishra and and Sonali Khan
From left: Uttam Pal Singh, Leena Lele Dutta,Sourabh Kumar,Madhoo Shah,Manoj Mishra and and Sonali Khan

At FICCI Frames 2023, a panel comprising Leena Lele Dutta, business head, Sony YaY; Madhoo Shah, actor; Sourabh Kumar, founder and CEO, Pun Toon Kids and VidUnit; Manoj Mishra, CEO, Powerkids Entertainment; and Sonali Khan, managing director, Sesame Workshop India, discussed gen alpha media trends and how to hit the bull's eye when it comes to catering to diverse preferences of young audiences. 


The session was moderated by Uttam Pal Singh, head of kids cluster-South Asia, Warner Bros. Discovery.  


Gen alpha’s media diet 


Mishra kicked off by stating that gen alpha has clarity of thought when it comes to consuming content. He explained, “Gen alpha is set on what content they want to watch and the genre they want to pick be it action or comedy. They also have a variety of content to choose from. It has changed so much from a set of concepts that we had in the yesteryears.”


Khan stated how there is a diverse content pool for children to choose from today. She expressed, “In today’s world, children are watching a lot of globalised content. There are cohorts from regional areas speaking American English fluently. Therefore, as content producers and creators, we need to wrap our minds around how children are consuming content and how it is transforming their worlds.”


Talking about how content creators need to pivot from traditional storytelling methods, Khan said, “Storytelling is an intrinsic part of creating content. However, the need of the hour is to have a refreshed take on old formats. We need to reinvent the formats by curating simpler stories, captivating messages and creating fewer characters. We also started creating content for our show Sesame Street which has been running for over fifty years on TikTok. Since the show has been on air for a long time, it was key to pivot to other platforms. Our aim should be to create content on platforms that children are on."


What should change to keep gen alpha hooked?


Kumar saw an opportunity to create content around the real world. “While launching Pun Toon Kids, we saw that creating content that isn’t too mystical has a leverage point. We decided to make real heroes that don’t have superpowers but have powers of values that parents want to inculcate in their children. Our programming strategy revolves around three C's: culture, curiosity and curriculum. These trends are what kids and their parents want.”


Kumar added that knowing where the audience is coming from and providing them with language offerings for the region they belong to is key for captivating audience retention. 


Will TV consumption see a slump amongst gen alpha?


Dutta's belief is that TV is here to stay. She shared, “The kid's category is the third largest genre accounting for the highest GRPs in India. TV is a low-cost medium that reaches the entire country. Even though in its form of linear programming there is room for all mediums. It is a myth that TV consumption is going to fade away. The reinvention of content will be the north star that will drive viewership numbers for TV. At the end of the day, we are governed by TRPs that are generated through a handful of set-up boxes. It doesn’t qualify in terms of what content is being watched across the length and breadth of the country.”


Setting new benchmarks, having advertising appeal


Even though there is a lot of TV consumption happening in the kid's genre, experts suggested that there is a lack of brand interest when it comes to this space. 


Shedding light on this advertising sentiment, Dutta said, “For some reason, the kid's genre is the most undersold genre when it comes to advertising. Maybe there is a correction that is required in this space. There should be well-defined demographics within a broad target audience of two to fourteen. Based on this demographic data, content creators should be able to pivot and differentiate their content. We need to come out of the space of creating content for the bull's eye TG which is boys of the age group six to eight.”


Gen alpha trends


The session closed off with each panellist bringing up a core trend that is disrupting the kid's genre. 


Kumar shared that kids are watching a lot of reels these days even though it's not their age to do so since the age restriction is 13 plus. He shared, “Gen alpha is disrupting content formats. We as content creators need to create short format content to garner reach.” 


Mishra stated that the content duration is getting shorter. 


Khan surmised, “Small screens are garnering more viewership. Hence, we need to draw viewers in during the initial fifteen seconds. Kids want to learn skills but they want it to be curated in a fun, engaging and relative way. Kids are looking beyond the preconceived notion of content.” 

Campaign India

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