Cartoon Network: The Indian Experience

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR035
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1999 - 2002
Organization : Cartoon Network
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Media, Entertainment, and Gaming

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"We own the kids time band."

- Hema Govindan, Vice-President (Marketing and Public Relations), Turner Entertainment Networks (Asia), in January 2002.

Cartoon Crazy Kids (and Parents)

In March 2001, leading satellite television (TV) channel, Cartoon Network, held a cricket tournament titled 'Toon Cricket 2001,' in Mumbai, India. In the tournament, famous cricket players were to play against famous cartoon characters such as Scooby Doo, Tom, Jerry, Fred Flintstone, Dee Dee, and Johnny Bravo.

The tournament was a promotional exercise, aimed at increasing the popularity of the channel and its cartoon characters. The match was scheduled to begin at 2.30p.m, but the 35,000 plus capacity stadium was almost full by 1.30 p.m. with children and their parents. By 2.30 p.m. the stadium was overflowing and many were waiting outside trying to enter the stadium, leading to a stampede. As the organizers kept trying to manage the crowds, they had to delay the match till 4.00 p.m. When the organizers announced the start of the match, children and their parents went wild with excitement and broke the barricades to meet their favorite cartoon characters. When pleadings and requests failed to control the crowd, the organizers had to threaten the children with the cancellation of the match to send them back to their seats.

Even then, when the match began, a ring of people stayed on the field, surrounding the pitch, obstructing the view of the people who returned to the stands. The organizers and the security people were helpless, as they did not want to physically force the children off the field. By 5 p.m. many disappointed people left the stadium saying, "We can't see anything, what's the point?" Observers remarked that judging by the number of people who were there in the first place, the stadium was still probably full, even when half the crowd had left. The crowd eventually settled down and the second half of the match went well. The cartoon characters entertained and delighted the crowds with their antics.

This overwhelming response to the tournament was beyond even Cartoon Network's expectations. A stunned looking Cartoon Network official said, "I've never seen so many kids!" Though it was not the first time Cartoon Network had organized such a promotional event, they had never seen a response like this, where cartoon crazy children and their parents had gone so 'completely berserk.' Even the organizers were amazed at the popularity of Cartoon Network's characters. What was remarkable about this response to the event was the fact that the channel had built a huge viewership and brand loyalty in a short span of 5 years in the Indian satellite TV market Considering that most TV programs in India were based on family dramas, movies, and sports, the success of a niche channel such as Cartoon Network was indeed remarkable.

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