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Apr, 18 2018

Sony To Foray Into kids Consumer and Merchandising Business For Revenue Growth

To start with, SPN and BWO will roll out toys based on Sony YAY characters like ‘Guru-Bhole’ and ‘Hunny Bunny’, and from one of its upcoming shows.

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has decided to enter into the consumer products and merchandising business so as to add revenue influx into its television broadcasting business and strengthen its bond with the youth.

SPN has signed a multiyear licensing deal with Mumbai-based brand licensing company Black White Orange Brands (BWO) to exploit the portfolio of its kids’ channel, Sony YAY.

To start with, SPN and BWO will roll out toys based on Sony YAY characters like ‘Guru-Bhole’ and ‘Hunny Bunny’, and from one of its upcoming shows. The merchandise is expected to hit the markets in October. That will be followed by a back-to-school range in January next year.

Sony YAY’s business head, Leena Lele Dutta said, “Broadcasting is our core business, but we want to create a 360-degree ecosystem which includes consumer products and games as well to connect with our consumers.”

“We (Sony YAY) are just one year old and while we have received great response from the kids and their parents, this (merchandise) is a new business. So, rather than launching a separate division in-house we felt that a robust partner like BWO can help us in rolling out faster, she said while commenting on the partnership with BWO.

One of the last entrants into the kids broadcasting space, Sony YAY has just completed one year of run and has a few tent-poles local properties like ‘Guru Aur Bhole’ and ‘Sab Jholmaal Hai’. Rivals Walt Disney (Hungama, Disney Channel, Disney Jr), Turner International (Cartoon Network and Pogo) and Viacom18 (Nick, Nick Junior, and Sonic), meanwhile, have established consumer products business.

Bhavik Vora, Founder of BWO Brands, said there was huge potential for SPN’s kids’ merchandise. As the market is growing, he said, there is a larger acceptance for localised characters, but there is a need for bringing in a “fresh perspective” by making the products aspirational.

Vora said, “We have been in discussion with the Sony team and together we have zeroed in on some great concepts. We will launch with the novelty toys and gifts options, and later get into back to school, apparels and other categories. We can also leverage SPN’s network strength for marketing and promotions, which will make the products a success.”

Experts peg the official kids’ merchandise space in India at Rs 2,200-2,500 crore and growing. While this is the first time for SPN to get into the category, BWO has been working with many brands having exclusive licencing agreements of HBO’s Game of Thrones and Universal Pictures’ properties like Minions, Jurassic World and Jaws; DreamWorks’ Shrek, Kung Fu Panda; Rajamauli’s Bahubali; and Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team.

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