Sony Pictures Networks India is to launch children’s entertainment channel Sony Yay! in place of its current Animax network.

Targeted at the 2-14 age group, the new channel will be available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages across direct-to-home (DTH) and digital cable platforms. It will launch April 18.

Programming includes four locally produced animated shows: musical comedy “Guru Aur Bhole,” pet comedy “Sab Jholmaal Hai,” fantasy drama “Prince Jai Aur Dumdaar Viru,” and ghost comedy “Paap-O-Meter.”

Content from Animax, predominantly Japanese anime, will move to Sony Liv, a digital VoD platform that launches at the same time as Yay!

“The Indian television industry is at an interesting crossroad, with the kids genre being a front-runner in demanding innovation and freshness,” said N.P. Singh, SPN’s CEO in India.

Other Sony sources were at pains to suggest that Animax is not being shut down, but is instead being converted from a linear channel to part of a digital platform. “Animax in India has a loyal fan base there which is very digitally savvy. So moving the content to our digital platform makes a lot of sense. The linear space is going to be re-purposed for the new kids’ channel, Sony Yay!, which we are launching to take advantage of a very hot market for kids television in India,” one source said.

The restructuring in India is understood to be unconnected to the recent reshuffle of Animax and other animation assets in Japan.