DreamDTH Explains: A guide to kids’ and educational channels in India

This is an in-depth dive into Indian TV channels for the littlest viewers, with both big broadcasters like WBD, Disney Star and Viacom18 and smaller ones like ETV and the BBC having a strong presence.

Estimated reading time: 30 minutes, 47 seconds

Our previous DreamDTH Explains articles have covered most of the important genres of Hindi and English TV channels in India, which are available across all parts of the country; After our previous article on devotional, music and youth channels, we turn to some more genres of niche nationwide channels, which typically have several audio feeds: kids’ channels (with some aimed at preschoolers) — as well as a few educational channels — for this article, and lifestyle channels (food and travel) and infotainment channels (also known as knowledge channels) for the next. Afterwards we will deal with channels in the various regional languages of the country — with separate articles for South, East and West/North Indian languages — before culminating with an analysis of the merger of Sony and Zee, and how it will shake up almost every TV genre in the country, with the exception of devotional or spiritual channels since no national broadcaster operates in that genre.

Unlike the other national channels (except sports and, to an extent, English movies) — which are mostly available only in one audio language — the channels in these three genres tend to be multilingual channels: their programming is originally in English or Hindi which is accompanied by multiple audio feeds. The most common audio feeds are English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, with the first two being the two main nationwide languages of India and the latter two being the bigger of the four major South Indian languages. Some channels also have audio feeds in Kannada and Malayalam (the smaller two South Indian languages) and a few like Sony YAY! and Nick even have Bengali and Marathi audio feeds, which are the two biggest non-South regional languages.

But smaller regional languages like Punjabi, Odia, Assamese and Gujarati do not tend to have audio feeds, with the exception of the ETV Bal Bharat channels — in addition to JioCinema’s comprehensive multilingual coverage of the ongoing IPL season on the streaming front, with the Bhojpuri commentary (which is never a language feed option on traditional TV channels) becoming especially popular. Moreover, since almost all kids’ channels from national broadcasters have multiple audio feeds, dedicated kids’ channels in regional languages are few in number: the four South Indian languages have four channels from the Sun network and another four from ETV Bal Bharat (with ETV closing its kids’ channels in non-South Indian regional languages), while Bengali has the independent Rongeen TV in addition to several animation shows on Sony Aath and Zee Bangla, and no other regional language has any kids’ channels.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the Indian division of Warner Bros. Discovery or WBD — which was created a year ago, in April 2022, after the merger of WarnerMedia (spun off from the American telecoms giant AT&T) and Discovery Communications — is a key broadcaster in these niche genres: kids’, lifestyle and infotainment. WBD has multiple channels coming from both Discovery (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Science, Investigation Discovery, DTamil, Discovery Kids) and WarnerMedia India (consisting only of the kids’ channels Pogo and Cartoon Network, it having closed all its remaining English movie channels — HBO, HBO HD and WB — at the end of 2020). This is especially noteworthy since WBD does not have much presence in other genres, except Eurosport (owned by Discovery) and the South Asian feed of CNN, the global news channel, but it is nevertheless an important player in these three broadcasting segments.

Overview of kids’ channels

There are a large number of players, both national and regional, in the children’s channel space in India: while some like Disney Star, Viacom18, WBD and the Sun and ETV networks in South India have a large number of kids’ channels, others like Culver Max Entertainment (Sony) and the BBC are content with running a single channel. Almost all of them show similar content in multiple language feeds: Indian- or Japanese-produced animation series, along with a few Western ones, rather than live-action shows including non-fiction ones. But since the BBC’s CBeebies is foreign-operated, it naturally does not have any Indian or Japanese cartoons. (Note also that Disney Star has Disney International HD, a channel dedicated to the American Disney Channel’s live-action teen shows, which is its only English entertainment channel now that the Star World channels are no more.)

Some have built their name on homegrown cartoons, like Pogo from WBD (originally Turner India) which is associated with the Chhota Bheem franchise, and Nick from Viacom18 which is known for Motu Patlu and Pakdam Pakdai. Others rely more on Japanese cartoons, especially Doraemon and Shinchan, which are shown on the Disney Star-owned Disney Channel and Hungama, respectively — though they also have plenty of Indian productions. But there are a few channels which cater more towards infants and preschoolers, such as Nick Jr., Disney Junior and the BBC-run CBeebies. However, channels showing Japanese anime — namely Animax from Sony and Toonami from the then-Turner India — have ceased to exist on TV platforms, though the former has returned on JioTV at the start of 2023 due to popular demand.

Below we present a table of broadcasters currently and formerly operating in the kids’ genre in India. Given that Sony and Zee will soon be merging, they are presented under the same column. They are equally accessible to both boys and girls, with the segmentation of shows being according to age group (preschool: 0–4, primary school: 5–9, tweens/teens: 10–14) rather than gender, since channels like Nickelodeon Sonic and the erstwhile Disney XD/Marvel HQ, with their action-packed cartoons more popular among boys than girls, have changed their positioning to appeal to all kids.

Broadcaster →Disney StarViacom18Sony/ZeeWBDSunETVOthers
General kids’ channelsDisney Channel (HD), Hungama, Super Hungama Nickelodeon (HD+), Sonic
plus Topper
Sony YAY!Pogo, Cartoon Network (HD+),
Discovery Kids
Chutti TV, Kushi TV, Chintu TV, Kochu TVETV Bal Bharat (HD) + 5 more language-specific channels (English and South)• Gubbare (IN10 Media)
• Rongeen TV and partly Sony Aath (Bengali)
Preschoolers’ channelsDisney JuniorNick Jr.CBeebies (BBC)
Defunct channels• Jetix/Toon Disney, Disney XD, Marvel HQ (predecessors to Super Hungama)
• BabyTV (HD)
TeenNick (block)Animax,
ToonamiETV Bal Bharat channels in Hindi + 6 non-South regional channelsDa Vinci Learning HD

Also, for ease of reference, we include a table of the audio feeds on each of these channels below. This is based on the channel and audio feed availability on Tata Play and Airtel Digital TV, since they have almost all kids’ channels and audio feeds. Regional monolingual channels (those from the Sun network and Rongeen TV) are excluded, as is CBeebies from the BBC since it is only in English. Note that some channels like Hungama and Pogo do not have English feeds. Also, ETV Bal Bharat is unique in having 12 audio feeds — the below 8 languages plus Punjabi, Odia, Assamese and Gujarati — on its main SD and HD channel, in addition to dedicated SD channels for 5 individual languages (English and 4 South Indian languages) with the others being shuttered.

Note: For certain channels, Airtel Digital TV has more audio feeds than Tata Play. Airtel has a Telugu feed on Pogo, Discovery Kids and Sonic, Malayalam and Bengali feeds on Nick and Sonic, and Kannada and Malayalam feeds on Sony YAY!, none of which are present on Tata Play as per DreamDTH’s official lists of channels, services and audio feeds on each DTH.

Language →HindiEnglishTamil and TeluguKannada and
Disney Star• Disney Channel (HD)
• Hungama
• Super Hungama
• Disney Junior
• Disney Channel (HD)
• Super Hungama
• Disney Junior
• Disney Channel (HD)
• Hungama
• Super Hungama
• Disney Junior
WBD• Cartoon Network (HD+)
• Pogo
• Discovery Kids
• Cartoon Network (HD+)
• Discovery Kids
• Cartoon Network
• Pogo
• Discovery Kids
• Cartoon Network
• Pogo
• Discovery Kids
Viacom18• Nick (HD+)
• Sonic
• Nick Jr.
• Nick (HD+)
• Sonic
• Nick Jr.
Nick, SonicNick, SonicNick, SonicNick, Sonic
SonySony YAY!Sony YAY!Sony YAY!Sony YAY!Sony YAY!Sony YAY!
IN10 MediaGubbareGubbare

Very few of these channels are available in HD, namely Nick HD+ (launched December 2015), Cartoon Network HD+ (launched April 2018) and most recently Disney Channel HD (launched March 2023). While ETV Bal Bharat is available in HD, no major TV platform carries the HD feed or any of the language-specific channels — as with several other ETV channels — while two foreign-operated HD channels have closed: Da Vinci Learning HD (2015–17) and Disney Star’s BabyTV HD, which was discontinued in India in March 2023, four years after its SD feed along with Nat Geo Music and People SD/HD were withdrawn in June 2019. Other kids’ channels like Pogo, Discovery Kids, Sony YAY! and Sonic have not considered launching HD feeds; though Hungama was originally supposed to get an HD feed along with Disney Channel, it was cancelled.

Now we discuss each broadcaster’s presence and history in the children’s broadcasting space, with Disney Star, WBD and Viacom18 on Page 2, Sony/Zee (including several Bengali cartoons), the BBC and ETV Bal Bharat on Page 3, and Sun and the others on Page 4. Educational channels also have their own section on Page 4.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

DreamDTH is the source for breaking news and exclusive updates in DTH and Television industry! For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Google News, Telegram and Facebook. For the latest videos updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Avatar of Soham Bhadra
Soham Bhadra

Television Analyst

Soham is a Computer Science graduate from NTU, Singapore, with an active interest in the Indian TV and entertainment industry. He publishes articles and shares his insights primarily on the Indian TV industry and DTH operators. He has a passion for words and reflects that through his articles.

Forum replies (5)Comments (0)

Loading new replies...

Inviting valuable comments from @iDJ, @dino29, @Prithi Deb and @Detective Conan bhai as you all have in-depth knowledge of kids’ channels. :smile2:

Reply 3 Likes

Inviting valuable comments from @iDJ, @dino29, @Prithi Deb and @Detective Conan bhai as you all have in-depth knowledge of kids’ channels. :smile2:

@JollyLNB bro news article is written in nice informative manner and easy to understand overall kids channel history- ownership changes to present changes ,news and languages feed distinction and differences between network channels and newer channel launch impact on kids channel segment . it needs only few additions

Cartoon Network India-( earlier in 2005-2007 aired toonami block in India airing kids anime - Digimon adventures , pokemon , Transformers Armada , beyblade ) later removed toonami block started airing action heavy anime shows in night 2008 - 2009 - naruto S1 , s2 , bakugan s1 , capeta , ultimate muscle in afternoon - one piece then stopped after airing few episodes DBZ mentioned already,
2006- legend of snow white (old japenese animated series) , 2009/2010 cn started airing dragon ball prequel series of dbz in night then stopped , 2009 - kiba , blue dragon short series aired at night the stopped in between before completing .
2010 - started airing kids anime - inazuma eleven in weekends fridays evening and on weekends airing - digimon show . CN indias most popular - kids anime show 2003 -2010 till then they aired pokemon diamond and pearl

Pogo - used to air mix of intl shows they even used to air kids anime shows - 2008 when bheem was launched along with they also tried airing airing in afternoons - hagemaru , Mirmo de pon ( small tiny bot fairy companion - Mirmo - they only aired s1 to s2 mid , Anpanman , last year l. in 2010-2012/14- pokemon black and white , dp sinnoh league victors . last time pogo aired kids anime show yokai watch later stopped.

nick india - even nick earlier used to airkids anime - 2008-2009 - perman , maskman niyander kamen , Atashinchi , chibi maruko chan ( they reaired in 2010 /2011 then stopped airing abruptly may be due to motu patlu success.

sonic nicklodeon - earlier aired idaten jump , Zatchbell , ghosts in school , naruto spinoff -rock lee and and his pals

Hungama tv - 2006-2007 - yu gi oh , 2008 - ninja boy rantaro , kiteretsu , detective conan ( series) , 2009- genie family , 2010-2011 - little moonlight rider , 20006-2011/2012- kochikame later stopped airing

I understand it must have taken more time and effort in collecting , editing and formatting so many information in short manner

bro , my suggestion of additions are below , from above only add info if you think if feels necessary

1. small correction - subtitles are available on Animax ( in Jio TV android & ios app) only in jio set top box english subtitles are not available.
2. sony yay - also aired anime shows last year - Naruto and Seargeant keroro . currently replaced new season episode teaser promo is shown in ad of naruto in yay in between ads . they are also interested in bringing more anime shows in future

3 . earlier anime shows theme song - opening and ending - used to be dubbed in Indian languages in Hindi , Tamil or Telegu from English/Japanese irrespective of which kids channel aired Nick , CN , Disney , pogo or Hungama tv - nowadays it has become rare to see kids channel to dub the theme song of shows with proper lyrics.

Reply 4 Likes

click to expand...

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Visit our forums

Join the discussions with thousands of active members who share the same interests as you and learn something new...