Arati Rao
Dec 01, 2011

Viacom18 to launch new channel Sonic for "new young adults"

The launch will take place by mid-December

Nina Elavia Jaipuria revealing the logo of the new channel
Nina Elavia Jaipuria revealing the logo of the new channel

Viacom18 has announced the launch plans of its new channel in India called Sonic, under the Nickelodeon umbrella. Launching in mid-December 2011, Sonic is targeted at 10-17 year old new young adults or "Grownabes", who are attitudinally drawn towards thrills, action and edge-of-the-seat excitement. Aiming to be the ‘TV channel for the action-loving generation’, the channel which will have 80 percent of content as animation. Conceived to bridge the gap between the kids and the youth channels, the channel will launch in India in the Hindi speaking market in multi-lingual feeds and aims to be viewed in 40 million households in the launch phase. The announcement was made by Nina Elavia Jaipuria, executive vice president and general manager – Sonic and Nick India.

Jaipuria, "We conducted a research with Quantum in four cities Mumbai, Delhi, Indore and Lucknow, almost eight months ago, which was essentially an ethnographic immersion study. That is the research that validated the need for speed and the fact that this age bracket is completely 'grownabes': the post kids, pre-youth TG who want to do their own thing, and break free of parental control. They are early adopters, very tech-savvy, have an opinion, and to an extent, a lot of purchasing power especially when it comes to cosmetics, apparel, technology and food and entertainment at malls. Everything in their life has to be exciting, it can't be boring. TV re-affirms the decisions they're starting to take, without judgement. This is one TG that is very under-served by television, they're snacking everywhere at the moment across vehicles and platforms. Loaded with shows across a diverse genre, Sonic will target the urban, hyperactive, new young adult in a manner that’s innovative, engaging and most importantly, interactive."  

With the tagline ‘Thrills. Guts. Glory.’, Sonic will air shows like 'Shaktimaan', 'Kung Fu Panda-The Legend of Awesomeness', 'Jackie Chan Fantasia', 'Kong', 'Power Rangers' and 'Supastrikas'. Live action shows and blockbuster films will complete Sonic's content lineup.

On the digital opportunity, Jaipuria said the whole ambition is to drive an online community. "Through, we want to be the online destination for young adults who can enjoy and experience action. It will have games, mobile interactivity, Facebook and Twitter links and so on. There will even be a 'techy' show only on the website, which will never be seen on TV." The digital initiative has been developed in-house.

The marketing activity will explore all platforms - ATL and BTL. Vizeum is the media agency and Scarecrow is the advertising agency. As for advertiser interest so far, Jaipuria said the channel is still exploring options, but is very optimistic of its potential considering the TG is one every brand manager and media planner is looking for.  

After Colors, MTV, Nick and Vh1, Sonic is Viacom18’s fifth channel in India. Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer - Viacom International Media Networks, said, "The launch of Sonic is significant in many ways. Not only does it further expand the Viacom18 Network in India but it also opens up an interesting category for both viewers and advertisers. With the launch of Sonic, the Viacom18 Network can now take pride in being the only entertainment network in India that has specific brands to entertain viewers across every possible age segment from two years onwards."

Commenting on the launch, Haresh Chawla, group chief executive officer - Viacom18, said, “Over the last four years, Viacom18 has grown 12-folds to be amongst the fastest growing entertainment groups in India. The launch of ‘SONIC’ further expands Viacom18’s presence in a demographic bracket that has remained untapped, but is probably the biggest influencer on family purchase decisions. Like our other businesses, we are confident of Sonic establishing a dominating presence within the first year of its operations.” He further added, “The next 12 months will see Viacom18 in an expansion mode and the launch of Sonic is the first step in that direction.”

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