Understanding the Concept
Merchandising refers to practice that promotes and boosts the sale of products to the end consumers. Today, electronic channels are providing brand merchandise rights to various companies to create ‘sub-brands’ so that it helps in promoting their channels in a wide range. Almost all the television channels which were formerly targeting kids to sell their products like- Mickey Mouse, Barbie, Sponge Bob, Power Puff Girls etc, are now hurling to target teenagers and adults as well. These characters have collectively invaded the lives of every Indian kid through their toys, clothes, stationeries, bed sheets etc, and have expanded their merchandise business in length.
Development in India so far
During the recent years, the market has been flooded with a host of children’s products (especially the sub-brands) that are widely promoted by the kids channels to sell their products. In 2005, Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) joined hands with Funskool India to set free the trend of ‘Beyblade’ that swept across the toy market. Within a month of its launch, the merchandising wing of Cartoon Network, CNE, proudly sold over 100,000 units across the nation. In the same year, Funskool also collaborated with Disney and launched Disney Princess toys for girls, which has now gone to include accessories and make-up kits as well. In 2006, partnering with a Dubai based company, New Boy, Disney launched back to school products, home products like linen and footwear, toys, apparel etc under the brand ‘Power Rangers’ in the boys segment. In the year 2006, Turner International also released the Muppets of Galli Galli Sim Sim ,the Indian adaptation of Sesame Street, and an entire range of clothing, publishing, luxury and home furnishing products revolving around their central characters Biscuit Badshah, Bharat, Elmo and Ernie. Apart from these conventional ranges, Turner successfully gave a boost to its business by bringing in stuffs like- bags, water bottles, lunch boxes, innerwear , shorts and T-shirts for both Cartoon Network & POGO. Pogo‘s MAD (Music, Art & Dance) too introduced a series including stationery, activity kits and home entertainment DVDs.
The popular music and entertainment channel, MTV also has a ‘brand’ of its own. It produces eye-wear, footwear, inner wear & lingerie, perfumes, adventure bikes, and many more. Initially only conventional products use to get priority in the licensing domain. However, MTV has proved that licensing can also fair in unconventional categories. Internet too has played a significant role in changing the ways of children consuming television programmes. Success of Disney’s online game and community is considerable in this regard.
The need for such promotions
As per industry experts, the TV merchandising industry has succeeded in occupying the interest of the consumers even outside the television world, especially for the children’s category. With the heavy downfall in the advertising revenue in the recent years, today the need to rely on licensing and merchandising has come up. The industry today generates a lion’s share of the revenue from licensing of products. For instance, the merchandising initiative of Cartoon Network Enterprises, which set up shops in India in 2001, currently generates 10 to 12 % revenues of its overall business. According to Andrew Carley, the head of licensing at Entertainment One, a drastic change has enfolded the market within the last three to five years due to the downward spiral of advertising and economic climate. He states, "Licensing is a very significant part of television as a whole. When we're looking at new shows, it can be difficult to work out how to finance them if there's not the licensing component because there's so little money from the broadcasters."
Apart from the above mentioned benefit, the tactic has also proved to be a great support to widespread their foothold globally.
Scope of TV Merchandising in India
With speeding up of the kid’s entertainment market in India, apart from the cinema and the television industry, today, the child centric broadcasters too are trying hard to make their foothold stronger in the field of licensing and merchandising. Thus, with the emergence of organized retail in India, the process has gained rapid momentum and has laid the foundation of a new era for kid’s entertainers.