Can TV channel be socially responsible?

Children’s channels were always considered as a niche media, but still as they are aimed on large audiences they do have some competitors. But Russian channel “Red” decided to take more specialized position on a market – it poses itself as a channel for people who are hard of hearing. An audience of more than two million viewers drawn for the last year and the diversity of the content show that “Red” moves in a right way. Tatyana Palamarchuk, programming director, explained main difficulties and priorities of channel.

Today in Russia there are more than one million children who are hard of hearing. And there is no television content that would be aimed for these children. So for us it was a great opportunity to create a unique channel which has an important social function. It should be noted that this is not the first social project of TV company «1HDTV», so we’ve launched it with a full understanding of the responsibility that is laid upon us. Channel concept has been carefully developed and agreed with the All-Russian Society of the Deaf and other specialized non-governmental organizations.

Still, we’d like to point out that Red channel should not be considered only as a specialized media. We are convinced that it can be interesting not only for children with hearing problems, but for children at all. So, the core target audience of the channel is children aged 4-12 regardless of the presence or absence of hearing loss.

Despite of the good niche chosen we still have some difficulties connected with channels specific. Since this is a children’s channel the translators have to be interesting and understandable to children. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find the interpreters, who would have both a good and clear lexicon and act in emotional manner or have a good articulation. I mean, we need actors and translators in one person and to find ones is a real challenge. For now number of such professionals is limited. Other hard issue is that we have to mind the language: very difficult vocabulary is not suitable for preschoolers, so we have to simplify some constructions. Actually we face a lot of challenges, but the important thing is that we deal with all of them.

Talking about the content, we should mention that we use both Russian and foreign content on our channel. The main reason for it is the demand of the audience – such format is interesting for children. And it actually works. We can see in the TNS ratings that for the first 3 months of broadcasting the channel has increased its reach to 44.5%. For now the audience of Red is more than 2.1 million people – pretty good illustration of the effectiveness of the content strategy.

One of the main points of our development strategy is that we treat our audience with respect. We pay attention to it, value feedback and are always open to dialogue. It’s easy to find our contacts on channel’s website or to write us in social networks. For example, one of the latest discussed moments was a size of the interpreter window in the air. We are currently testing several size options, maximizing the size of the previous one, and we‘d like to know what does the audience think about it.

Next important thing is the direct feedback from the children. The most relevant and honest way to receive it is to involve in this process the children of channel’s stuff. When you start the kids channel it is the fastest option to get feedback from the target audience. The main benefit of this method is that feedback is available even before the launch. Moreover, this process is continuous, so children of employees continue to watch the channel now.

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