International JV channel KidsCo launched its first brand extension over African airwaves this summer with the debut of BigTV. The a 24/7 channel skews towards kids eight to 14 and enables the brand to engage with an audience older than its established preschool target demo.
KidsCo MD of worldwide operations Paul Robinson explains that the brand’s pay-TV satellite platform based in Nigeria, My TV, instigated the launch. My TV was so pleased with KidsCo’s performance in its first 18 months – it became the top-rated kids channel on the satellite service – that it requested a programming proposition to appeal to older kids. My TV now offers both KidsCo and BigTV in its basic package to all subscribers.
BigTV, which went live on August 1 and broadcasts across sub-Saharan Africa, features 100% live-action programming. (KidsCo, on the other hand, devotes one-third of its lineup to live action.) Headlining the initial slate of series are Even Stevens, which originally aired on Disney Channel, BBC’s Tracy Beaker, distributed by eOne, and 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, which originally aired on Nickelodeon. Chuck Finn, My Parents are Aliens and There’s a Monkey in My Bed are also on the roster, drawn from KidsCo’s library of partner content.
And when it came to branding the extension, KidsCo realized it would have to be savvy in choosing a name that appealed to older kids.
‘When they get to be around 10, they don’t want to be called kids anymore, so if you label something a kids product, they’ll reject it,’ says Robinson. BigTV emerged from a brainstorming session and borrows similar KidsCo branding in terms of color scheme and logo design and will be promoted on KidsCo’s feed.
Initial publicity for the channel has garnered some inquiries about moving BigTV into other KidsCo territories. According to Robinson, more BigTV channels are likely to roll out worldwide in the first half of 2011 in territories that already have the KidsCo platform.
Robinson says his team has amassed enough content for year one, but it is now on the lookout for great catalogue programming to go beyond that. Though no original programming is planned for the short-term, he says it could be part of the recipe if and when the channel moves beyond Africa.