iWorld

Kids' OTT content in India set for significant investment and potential shake up

Indian streamers have adopted varying models in kids' segment

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2019/05/15/bheam.jpg?itok=V8uXaIpV

MUMBAI: Earlier this month, Netflix did something it rarely does. The streaming giant made an acquisition, only the third in its history, of a children’s media brand called StoryBots. Though the details of the deal weren’t disclosed, it’s safe to assume it didn’t cost the Reed Hastings-led company a fortune. While Netflix may not have broken the bank for its newest asset, its move is rather important because it points to what the world's most famous streaming service sees as a key growth area.

Indian kids of every age group today spend more time on digital mediums than ever before. The trend isn’t lost on the country's leading streaming platforms, which are now quickly building up a content library for this segment. While some OTT companies continue to shy away from the genre, investment in kids’ content is likely to increase significantly in the next couple of years, Indiantelevision.com has learnt.

According to Netflix original animation director Aram Yacoubian, kids and family are important segments globally for the company. Yacoubian highlighted the fact that Netflix is expanding its content across genres and formats with great storytelling at the core of all its actions. Citing the example of Mighty Little Bheem, he added that the company’s vision for kids’ content is centred on collaborating with amazing storytellers.

“Great stories and storytellers come from all over the world and cut across genres, formats and animation styles. We are focused on creating content for every kid to connect with and see themselves in as well as content and stories from areas far away. We want to give audiences in India the best of our kids content from all over the world and also invest in stories from India or about Indian culture, tradition, families, kids etc. We are thrilled to work with seasoned creators and fresh voices to create content kids and families will love and cherish. We know that when kids find the content amazing so do their older siblings and parents,” Yacoubin explained.

According to the 2018 KPMG report, linear TV remains the first preference of 97 per cent children in India as compared to other digital avenues. However, the rising popularity of a second screen among kids is undeniable. In a bid to capitalise on the appetite for good content from toddlers to early teens, OTT platforms are now looking at this segment more closely than ever before.

Elara Capital vice president Karan Taurani believes there is plenty of untapped potential in the sector. In fact, he describes it as the “next big thing”.

Viacom18’s digital arm Voot is probably the best placed among Indian streamers to benefit on this front. Voot made an early bet on the segment at a time when Indian OTT players were building their brands on the back of sports or premium English content. Within a few months of its launch, the company inked a deal with Turner for digital rights of popular kids’ shows to add a new dimension to its repertoire. Voot has always acknowledged kids as a key audience and its rich library with shows like Peppa Pig, Pokemon, Motu Patlu, Ninja Hattori and Chhota Bheem is proof of that conviction. Taking another leap forward, Voot is now on the verge of launching its dedicated kids’ service, a subscription-based model unlike the current advertising-based model of its main app.

Sony Pictures Networks India’s OTT SonyLIV has sets its sights on the segment as one of the key focus areas this financial year. SPN India digital business head Uday Sodhi said the company is excited about the prospect of developing this category.

“We have started expanding the footprint in kids’ content area. If you look at the app, we now have a fair amount of kids’ content and we are continuously adding more and more content. We should be able to have more than a thousand hours of content on kids alone. This includes a lot of content that we are doing as a part of the Sony Yay channel. Over and above that, we are also partnering and acquiring content from both international and domestic partners and today we have content in some southern languages, Marathi and Gujarati also,” Sodhi commented.

The top five to six OTT platforms operating in India are well funded and are likely to stay the course in the business. Given the diverse nature of the audience, these streamers have outlined unique visions for their companies. This applies to their take on kids’ content as well.

For instance, Eros Now has adopted a cautious approach when it comes to investment in kids’ content. Eros International chief marketing officer Manav Sethi said the company is looking to offer immersive experiences within this genre. While Eros is open to the idea of developing Originals in the segment, Sethi stated that the platform is currently experimenting and looking at data as well learning from mistakes of both Eros Now and its competition.

“It’s a huge opportunity waiting to be captured. We are experimenting in a few areas here. Kids today have access to iPads and phones; they don’t watch TV much. I think there is a huge market. When you look at creating content for kids, you have to be very careful about the sensitivities, language, message, and the art form. It can’t be too aggressive, too harsh and that requires lots of research,” Sethi remarked.

Another dominant force ALTBalaji has adopted a completely different approach. Balaji Telefilms’ OTT is on the brink of completely exiting from the kids’ scene. Recently, ALTBalaji CEO Nachiket Pantvaidya said in a press meet that the company will take off all kids-related content in the next six to 12 months. While the company offered kids’ content to begin with, it eventually altered its strategy to position itself as the go-to platform for the 18+ audience.

India’s OTT business, especially when it comes to kids’ content, could be in for a significant shake up with Disney’s formal acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets. Star India’s OTT Hotstar, which until now focused largely on sports, could take giant strides when it comes to kids' audience. Disney’s streaming service is set for a November launch. The original content created for the much-anticipated debut of Disney+ will be routed in India through Hotstar, which plans to localise those originals by dubbing or by adding subtitles in Indian languages.

According to Taurani, Disney-powered Hotstar could pose a serious challenge to Voot at a time when the Viacom18 streamer intends to flex its muscle in this sector. To make matters more interesting, Netflix too has big plans of producing high-quality content in the animated and live action genre for kids in India.

From the looks of it, kids’ content in India is now primed for digital video disruption. It now remains to be seen what this key market has in store for India’s super streamers in the next two years.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/29/quki.jpg?itok=soJt7DHo
Just Human Things and Qyuki launch ‘Overtime’ - The country’s first ‘Alien Invasion Office Comedy’

MUMBAI: What would happen if aliens took over the world and two employees who hate each other and tired of their daily routine are stuck with each other inside their office? Just Human Things along with Qyuki presents Overtime, India’s first ever a rib-tickling tale on alien invasion and about how...

iWorld Social Media
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/29/docubay.jpg?itok=0hKHPPAu
DocuBay inks global distribution deal with US-based 1091

MUMBAI: DocuBay, the premium international documentary membership VOD service by IN10 Media Network, announced the acquisition of multiple premium documentary titles from US-based global commercial distribution platform 1091. The deal includes stories on cultural icons such as John Lennon, and...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/29/edu.jpg?itok=8zZoah58
ZEE5 partners with Eduauraa to provide world class online eduction at an affordable price

ZEE5, India's largest ConTech brand today, amidst the presence of Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Hon'ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India announced an exclusive partnership with Eduauraa, a premier digital learning platform.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/28/first.jpg?itok=1JpRqGdz
Pocket Aces launches India's first Instagram original series 'Firsts'

The first significant moments of any relationship are always cherished. With this simple thought in mind, Pocket Aces is launching its new unique web series “Firsts” in partnership with Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk facilitated by Wavemaker. Silk will be seamlessly integrated in the series as an enabler...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/28/sn.jpg?itok=RQqlW2an
Firework India to onboard various content creators like Faye D'Souza

After getting into a partnership with Faye D’Souza, Firework India plans to rope more creators to generate quality and genuine content on the platform. Recently, former Mirror Now executive editor Faye D’Souza launched a new channel called Facts First with Faye, wherein she will be speaking on...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/28/mix.jpg?itok=AM3zrw9P
What factors drive content commissioning decision of OTT platforms?

From the later part of 2017, streaming players have delivered many “blockbuster originals”. Social media chatters, peer groups, office rooms see numerous discussions on premium content available on ZEE5, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Voot , MX Player and so on.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/27/french.jpg?itok=hqp7gqEE

From Left to right - Bennet, Boutonnat and Riester: France wants to build closer ties with Bollywood

France woos Indian content creators; lays out interesting incentives

MUMBAI: The French government is laying out the red carpet for Indian film, digital originals and TV series makers.  French minister of culture Franck Riester flew into Mumbai and had a series of whistlestop meetings with members of the creative community at Mumbai’s Soho House. His pitch: come to...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/27/faye.jpg?itok=PD0lhnYW
Erosion of credibility of mainstream media gave birth to ‘Facts First with Faye’

She has been a vociferous anchor on primetime news. She has been a fierce role model for women in the media industry. And now she’s embarking on a new journey as an independent content creator. Faye D'Souza, former Mirror Now executive editor, spilt the beans about her new channel ‘Facts First with...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/01/27/zee5.jpg?itok=ziZ7Z-an
ZEE5 Super Family will unify and gamify India: Taranjeet Singh

ZEE5 is approaching the stiff competition in the crowded over-the-top (OTT) space with innovative measures. Taking the trend of gamification one step ahead, it is prepping to launch a new property - ZEE5 Super Family (ZSF). While fantasy games have been targeting men usually, ZSF is targeting women...

iWorld Over The Top Services

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories