Children are becoming the new found audience. They at times are more aware than the parents, they love to know and learn along with having fun. KidZania, an edutainment theme park, understanding the need of this niche segment, enters Indian soil.
Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, KidZania India in conversation with Saniya Seth shares how they plan to tap the young audience.
Saniya Seth (SS): What are the features of Kidzania?
Viraj Jit Singh (VJS): Kidzania is an indoor family edutainment theme park. Unlike traditional formats of entertainment parks we have no mechanical rides. Kidzania’s USP is in educating children through real life role play and therefore it is constructed in a form of a real city for children, where children behave like adults. Everything is as real as it would be in the real world, except that it is a controlled protected environment. So, it is a mini city for children and represents multiple formats of industry services that the real world has, from airport to the police station, factories where consumables are made, media services, a television station, radio station. The experience will be exactly the same that an adult would have in the real world.
SS: What age group are you targeting?
VJS: Our core target audience is from the age group of four to 14 years. Our second target audience is young adults, between 25 years and 45 years, since they will have children of our core target audience. We also have a toddler area to keep them entertained and looked after.
SS: Please comment on the evolving market for children, specially the edutainment sector.
VJS: We have one of the largest young populations of the world, 30 per cent plus children of 14 years based on the CIA World Factbook. We have a very young and aware population. I believe there are over 150 entertainment theme parks across the country and there are a lot of investments taking place in this sector. Television and media, both are catering to the youth. This sector is evolving and there is a huge need for it also. Today there is a need for a parent to provide better education and entertainment or a mix of both which is where we are, high value services that adds value to a child’s life. There is a huge gap currently̶ after school there are limited activities that a child does which more often than not does not add value to his life.
SS: What are your retail plans in India?
VJS: Currently we are only in Mumbai, we aim to open in quarter two in 2013 in the R City Mall. We have committed to opening two more, in Delhi and Bangalore by 2015. The project is capital intensive; we spent about 90 to 100 crores on each centre only for the construction of it. After this we are going to evaluate the market and see if we need to take Kidzania to smaller markets.
SS: Tell us more about the tie up with Future Group.
VJS: Future group has been our founding partner. Mr. Biyani was aware of what Kidzania is across the globe, even when we met him the first time. Multiple industries and services are replicated in Kidzania and one of them is a supermarket and the other is a departmental store. The supermarket has been partnered by Big Bazaar and the departmental store by Central. Apart from the shopping that a child can do, a child can also take up a job there ̶ they can become inventory managers, cashiers and so on. When you become an inventory manager you understand why some products are refrigerated, some are in room temperature. There is simple math involved in everything which complements the education. The departmental store plays a very important role for us, because departmental store outside of showcasing products and allowing a child to become a sales person is also a redemption store. So the entire concept of Kidzania is based on financial literacy. We have our own currency called the KidZos. When a child enters they are given a certain amount of KidZos. Each activity depending upon its type can either earn or spend money. When the child saves that money, they can either go back to the bank and put the money back and earn interest or they can go to the departmental store and actually buy some products in lieu of make belief currency. The reason for financial literacy is to inculcate the value of money in a child.
SS: What will be your marketing and promotional strategies?
VJS: We have broken are target audience into two - trade which includes partners and sponsors that are going to come on board and consumers. As of now our focus has been on trade because it is important for them to understand Kidzania as a concept, how will it add value to their brand and how will they add value to society. The focus has been on that and we have used public relations for that. Eventually while targeting the consumers we are going to use all mediums̶ television, print, radio and digital and a lot of activation. The prime focus will be activation because once we localise it we are hoping it will have influx from Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat. There will be a television studio that will come on board as a partner where children will learn how to host shows etc. The other thing about marketing is that we will be targeting both parents and children, when it comes to our communicating strategy. It is important for the parent to know what value Kidzania will add to their child’s life.
SS: Are there any special activities that will be taken into consideration while launching in India?
VJS: Yes, most definitely. We are looking at Bollywood studio which is one; it fits in well with one of our partners which is Shah Rukh. Mumbai is the heart of Bollywood and children love it which provides us an opportunity to teach them about cinema. We will also try and create other activities like pottery. A lot of the activities and experience will be tweaked to suit the Indian needs. For example in a cultural carnival children can dress up across different cultures or different regions and do a full carnival across the city. Outside of that there will be different dance schools, the representatives of different dance style across the country. We’ve got the culinary schools where children will learn different cuisines.
SS: What are the tie-ups you have currently?
VJS: Big Bazaar is the supermarket partner, Yes Bank is the banking and ATM partner and Central is the departmental store partner. Shah Rukh is an investor and a promoter, he has got 26 per cent stake and a representation on the board. I have a few more partners on board, just waiting for a final go to make an announcement mostly by the end of the week.
SS: What kind of space do you require for this concept?
VJS: We have a very specific format which has worked for us successfully. It started in Mexico. We need between 70,000 to 80,000 square feet for this to come alive. We are going to be about 76,000 square feet in India. It is 55000 square feet, then we build a mezzanine floor on top of it which represents the suburbs of the city. The factories will on the mezzanine floor and the public services will be on the ground floor.