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Rivals squeak at Mouse bow

Channels try tricks to keep kiddie auds

MUMBAI With Walt Disney Television Intl. (India) launching its Disney and Toon Disney channels Dec. 17, rival kidvid players are bribing the ankle-biters for ratings.

Turner’s Cartoon Network affil Pogo is wooing auds with “The Pogo Amazing Kids Awards” — based on Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards — including a category that honors kids with exceptional abilities.

For the first time, the kids got to vote for their favorite Bollywood stars at the Dec. 24 kudofest.

United Home Entertainment’s Hungama TV, the newcomer on the scene for kids aged 4 to 14, is carving a niche in smaller towns. It bowed Sept 26 with a 9% reach, according to TAM ratings, and now hits more than 27%.

Hungama TV recently launched a contest that gives kids a chance to win apartments, cars and vacations abroad — all luxuries to which the middle-class Indian viewer aspires.

Animax now speaks Hindi in an effort to reach a larger audience. Indian children will get a daily branded block of Animax on Sony Entertainment Television, showcasing the best of anime.

The channel also has launched a contest in which schools can compete to meet Animax’s brand ambassador, cricketer Irfan Pathan.

Nick, which until recently had been written off by industry watchers, has a plethora of new programs. Many of these are dubbed in Hindi, including the localized animated series “J bole toh Jadoo” (J for Jadoo), based on a character from 2003’s Bollywood “E.T.”-style pic “Koi mil gaya” (Found Someone).

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