Chota Bheem has become the first Indian cartoon character to sell merchandise worth Rs 200 crore. Unseasonal nature of the sales across big cities and small towns alike and a large portfolio of products at different price points have been helping steady growth of Chota Bheem merchandise sales year-after-year.
Chota Bheem the cartoon series is being aired through Pogo TV for the past 10 years. Green Gold Animation, the owner of Chota Bheem has been licensing the Intellectual Property to different manufacturers and has been associating with retailers since 2010.
“Any toon character, which stays in a TV network for more than five years acquired a cult status with strong fan-following. We started off with comic books and CDs and later the demand came in for licensing the character for a wide range of products, including apparels, toys, back-to-school range and office stationery. Last year sales of the character merchandise crossed Rs 200 crore,” said Samir Jain, COO and executive director of Green Gold Animation.
Chota Bheem is one of the very few Indian toon characters, which has been able to sell merchandise of this value. “We have international all-time hit characters like Tom and Jerry which has been doing well even in the Indian market for decades. Then there is merchandise branded after characters of Disney and Warner Bros, which hit the stores when a new movie is released. Chota Bheem is the first Indian character to have sold products of this value,” said Jain.
Being aired regularly on TV, the popularity of Chota Bheem is not seasonal in nature and so is the demand for the merchandise. The producers come out with theatrical movies once in a year and a few events. “There are no peaks or troughs for Chota Bheem merchandise and hence the demand is steady. The back-to-school range is the only category that is seasonal in nature,” he said.
Green Gold has licensed the brand to over 100 partners, including Godrej, Unilever, Cello and Toyzone, who produce different products using the IP. It is also associated with over 100 offline retailers and some of the e-commerce players. The products are available through the general trade, e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra and organised retail chains like Big Bazaar and Shoppers Stop. Toonz Retail has recently tied up with Green Gold.
Toonz would use the IP for its own apparels brands like Wowmom and Super Young and retail through the general trade as well as its stores. ‘We expect the character merchandise to account for 10 per cent of the apparel sales this year,” said Sharad Venkta, MD and CEO- Toonz Retail India. Toonz will also sell toys and office stationery products.
According to him, Chota Bheem is popular across big cities as well as small towns. “The demand is equally strong across different tiers of cities and towns and that is what makes it different from some of the international toon characters, which are popular only in metros or tier I cities,” he said.
Further, Chota Bheem has a more Indianised range of products across different price points. “There are products catering to the lower end of the price spectrum, middle as well as high. This makes the products accessible for different set of customers,’ added Jain.
Jain expects to clock at least 20 per cent growth in sales for the coming years. In four to five years, Chota Bheem merchandise is expected to clock Rs 500 crore revenue, he added.