As Tom and Jerry turn 82 today, we catch up with Cartoon Network's Abhishek Dutta to talk about its evolution in India
Cartoon Network’s Tomand Jerry have been a spark in everyone’s lives since the 1940s.
- Even today, you can have a hearty laugh and be glued to the screen enjoying the love-hate riddled camaraderie between this lovable duo.
- As this iconic duo turns 82 today, we catch up with Cartoon Network's
Abhishek Duttato talk about its evolution in India, how the network had benefitted from this property over the years and what today’s kids expect from their cartoon shows.
Last year, when the COVID cases plummeted and the theatres were open during the festive season, ‘Tom & Jerry: The Movie’ was released in India after a lot of contemplation. However, it outperformed at the box office, grossing nearly Rs 8 crore in terms of ticket sales, and was amongst the top-performing Hollywood family film/animation film in India in 2021. It was released across 1,000 screens in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
It was only in 1995 that the channel Cartoon Network made its entry in India with dual feed. Cartoon Network operated from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm and Turner Classic Movies took up the remaining schedule. Soon after the launch, Cartoon Network started airing Tom and Jerry amongst other international shows, and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2001, Cartoon Network became a separate 24-hour channel and the show Tom and Jerry became an inseparable part of its legacy.
As this iconic duo turns 82 today, we caught up with Cartoon Network's Abhishek Dutta to talk about its evolution in India, how the network has benefitted from this property over the years and what today’s kids expect from their cartoon shows.
The secret behind keeping an iconic cartoon show relevant for today’s audience
Today, kids have plenty of choices when it comes to content consumption. Dutta said that it is important to explore imaginary worlds that could also be a window to real-life examples, to stay relevant.
So what makes Tom and Jerry relevant today? Dutta said, “So, for kids, the shows that they see on television, are basically an escape from the real world. This is where they come to have some enjoyment and fun. So over a period of years, Tom and Jerry has evolved to incorporate everything in our environment or whatever changes we have seen outside. Tom and Jerry, as characters, have seen so many setups; we have seen a lot of episodes in the house that they stay in, but even beyond that -- they have gone into space, they have gone into multiple outings. And this evolution of Tom & Jerry with the time has actually kept the audience open throughout its history and that's how it maintains its popularity even today. Apart from this, even on our consumer products front, there are more than 1000 SKUs of Tom and Jerry consumer products in India across different categories.”
Keeping pace with this evolution in the landscape, content creators and kids’ entertainment broadcasters are developing concepts, characters and themes that echo with local audiences while retaining their global appeal. So, to stay ahead of the curve, Cartoon Network gave a glocal twist to Tom and Jerry two years ago.
“In 2020, we did something different with the show and added a commentary to Tom and Jerry. The reason for adding this commentary was that children have a very short attention span. So if they miss anything while viewing the show, that commentary keeps them hooked to it. And that did amazingly well for us. In fact, the first week that we relaunched the show with the commentary, it became the number one show in the category. Even today, Tom & Jerry contributes substantially to our Cartoon Network channel and is loved by millions of our fans on the network,” shared Dutta.
The show is dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu today.
To up its glocal game, Cartoon Network is also bringing a new series ‘Tom and Jerry in New York’ to India during the summer holidays.
Telling us how Tom and Jerry cuts across different age groups, Vikram Sharma, Head of Consumer Products, Advertising & Partnerships, WarnerMedia India, Southeast Asia and Korea, said, “A testament to the widespread admiration of Tom and Jerry is that it remains the most popular Kids Consumer Products animation IP for WarnerMedia. Young and adult fans of the franchise in India have more than 1,000 SKUs of Tom and Jerry consumer products to love and own. The sheer diversity of the products available, spread across verticals such as fashion, accessories, toys, collectibles, puzzles, and stationery, proves the global phenomena that the characters are. In India alone, there are several key partnerships including Reliance Retail, Myntra, Flipkart, TheSouledStore.com, Bewakoof.com, Campus Footwear, Funskool, Bata (Pak), Hamilton, amongst others, that offer Tom and Jerry collection, reinforcing the IP’s fan-following.”
To celebrate this lovable slapstick comedy’s anniversary, Cartoon Network India is airing new episodes of ‘Tom and Jerry Tales’ this week from 10:30 am onwards. The show is co-powered by Complan and Alpenliebe Gold and has onboarded Policy Bazaar and Parle Milk Shakti as associate sponsors. To add to this week-long extravaganza, Cartoon Network has also planned on-ground promotions and fan engagement in Pune and Mumbai malls.