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Children’s mags take on new characters

It takes continuous innovation to maintain connect with an ever-changing audience. Chandamama and Tinkle are tinkering with their unchanged offerings to woo the current generation to their products. Saurabh Turakhia reports.

business Updated: Jun 17, 2008 23:51 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

It takes continuous innovation to maintain connect with an ever-changing audience. And children’s magazines Chandamama and Tinkle are tinkering with their unchanged offerings to woo the current generation to their products. <b1>

An underwater journey at Samudra Nagar, a young thrill-seeker in race-driver Nina – these are the new ‘properties’ unveiled by ACK Media, the owners of Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Samir Patil, founder and CEO, ACK Media said, “We are trying to fill the gaps – we realised that a girl’s character as a role model was missing and that’s how Nina was created. She is a 12-years old, smart, spunky and adventurous girl, assisting her father, a mapmaker. The other reason is the surge in the interest in travel that Indians have been showing.”

Starky, the starfish with his sidekick Crusty the crab explore the deep sea called Samudra Nagar, thanks to the interest in nature a la the Discovery channel. A heightened interest in science fiction led to the creation of Captain Shiva, while plans are afoot to test a new detective character.

Sexagenarian Chandamama is also looking at ways and means to woo the present generation youth. Says its CEO, L Subramanyan, “We are planning three to four characters which will appeal to the teens. In a way, we are extending our footprint to a higher age-group. These should launch across various print and online products between October, 2008 and March, 2009.” The group is engaged in market-research to zero-in on workable themes, he added.

Tapaas Chakravarti, chairman of DQ Entertainment group said, “It is a great sign. There is a deep need to have Indian superheroes or Indian role-models. This is a growing up time for Indian comic publishers and I am pleased they are developing characters for the 21st century kids.”

Not all publishers are keen on new characters, though. Delhi-based Diamond Comics, which created characters such as Chacha Chaudhary, Pinky, Biloo etc, is happy with its existing characters. Gulshan Rai, managing director of Diamond Comics said, “It takes a lot of time to introduce new characters.”

Interestingly, television content companies are also exploring the publishing space. Nanette D’Sa, senior vice president, Star (licensing and merchandising), says, “We have introduced print versions of our serials such as Naya Office Office, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai, Ganesha etc.”

Questions emailed to Disney and Virgin Comics did not fetch replies till the time of filing this story.