Switch on any of the few cartoon channels running on the analog or DTH connections on your television and you will be greeted with Japanese animation series (either in English or dubbed in Hindi). Kids have grown up watching shows like Pokemon, Beyblade and now Doraemon. Hence, it won't be a surprise if animation series like Doraemon had the maximum ratings during 2010, followed by another Japanese cartoon series,Shinchan.
According to TAM Peoplemeter System, while Doraemon aired on Disney channel holds the highest viewership ratings during the first half of 2011, the second spot is occupied by an Indian show (based on an Indian theme and created by Indian production houses and studios). Chhota Bheem, aired on Cartoon Network, holds the second rank amongst the ten most watched programmes on cartoon channels during the first half of 2011.
Commenting on the growth of Indian shows on cartoon channels, Nina Elavia Jaipuria (pictured on left), executive vice president and general manager, Nickelodeon, said,"Animation in India has definitely come of age. We are slowly making more shows with Indian concepts and characters. We started with micro-based shows because story telling in animation involves a lot of challenges, script writing being the major one. Hence, it's easier to tell a story in animated form if the story has already been told before."
She added that since kids have been watching Japanese content for years now, it's not easy for new characters to make their space in kids' minds. In addition to that, making animation series requires a lot of investment, and a lot of catching up needs to be done on that front as well.
On the advertisers behaviour, she added, "Advertisers are not really looking at content as Indian or Japanese, they care about what's being viewed the most, what's creating maximum buzz and what's driving viewership. For them, it's all about channel drivers."
The gestation period for an animation pipeline is quite long. It'll take a long time for channels to reach a situation where they have some 200 episodes of a series (Indian) ready before putting the show on air. But she feels that there's no dearth of talent in the country to produce content, so it's won't take very long for kids to start consuming more of Indian shows.