Cape Town – Nickelodeon (DStv 305) in South Africa, carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, says the Viacom supplied TV channel targeting kids has very strict guidelines when it comes to the type of TV commercials it allows on the air, especially around food.
Due to pressure from parents and kids, the Viacom packaged and provided channel has also started the process of narrowing the broadcast windows of certain programming between when its shown in America and in Africa, showing newer content quicker and following the lead of broadcasters like M-Net and FOX International Channels Africa.
In the latter part of 2014, Nickelodeon rival The Walt Disney Company in South Africa shocked the TV biz when it announced that it would start targeting kids aged 4 and younger with TV commercials on the preschool channel Disney Junior (DStv 309) from November 2014 – with the consent and blessing of MultiChoice and its advertising sales arm DStv Media Sales.
Disney Junior has formerly been advertising free and TV commercials specifically targeting children – especially very young children – remains a sensitive topic for broadcasters.
"We have some very, very strict guidelines for advertising. When it comes to our parents and our kids, we are very, very careful about what goes on the channel, Tasania Parsadh, the senior channel manager of Nickelodeon in Africa at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) told Jeremy Maggs in Maggs on Media on eNCA (DStv 403).
Careful screening of ads – especially for food
"Any ad that goes on, I will look at it and our legal council will look at it. We'll also decide if its suitable for particular age groups. If not, we'll politely decline, and we'll also advise a brand on why we can't air any particular ads," said Parsadh.
"Lately what we've been doing with them is working with them even in the creation stage of an age saying, 'This is what's acceptable, and this is what's not – and especially around food."
"There's certain things around food that raises a red flag, in the sense that if any food promotion encourages to eat something every day – which isn't true and it isn't healthy for you."
"It's also the messages that's important with food. So if there's a particular toy with a particular meal, we advise that it's promoted as a treat," said Parsadh. "And a lot of the brands we've been working with have become very, very fair with that, so it makes our lives a lot easier because brands have become more responsible."
Kids' shows shown sooner
Parsadh says Nickelodeon has also started bringing Africa's kids new content much sooner than in the past because viewers demand it.
"What we're also seeing is a great interest in new, fresh content. When we launched season 9 of SpongeBob in the United States, immediately on social media there were lots of kids and their parents asking when is season 9 going to be shown on the channel on DStv."
"And then we motivated to have it shown early. So what we've done in terms of our [broadcast] window is we are a few weeks behind the United States," said Parsa.
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