20 Oct 2017
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Kids content is big play on digital platforms

MUMBAI: Two and a half years ago, a Chennai-based IT entrepreneur named Vinoth Chandra, in a doting moment with his daughter, decided to upload a video of a rhyme ‘Chubby Cheeks’ on YouTube.

In just two weeks, the video had 3 lakh views. In the months that followed, he uploaded a second video and went on to become the CEO and creative director of Chu Chu TV. Today it is Asia’s most-watched channel on YouTube with 4 million subscribers and 4.5 billion views.

Joining the big boys’ league are two brothers from Chennai—Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran, aged 16 and 14, respectively. The Kumarans co-founded Go Dimensions, a company that develops gaming, educational and lifestyle apps.

These are just two of the many instances that highlight where the advertisers’ money will be next—kids digital platforms. Children’s content is an opportunity that is already out there, an emotion that was echoed at FICCI Frames this year.

Kids today adapt to technology faster than adults do. At the same time, they cannot fathom why a show they like watching airs on a particular time slot only. Companies such as Nazara Technologies Pvt Ltd, which develop branded and original mobile content, are jumping on this opportunity.

“Once parents are home, their mobile phones are simply not in their control—the kid instantly takes it away to either play a game or watch a video,” said Nazara Technologies CEO Manish Agarwal.

He predicts that by the end of 2019 there will be 25–28 million kid gamers, from the current 5–7 million.

Broadcasters such as Viacom18, which runs kids channel Nickelodeon, have also realised the potential of having kids content in the digital space. Its newly launched OTT channel Voot includes a substantial content mix for kids.

“A study we conducted through The Boston Consulting Group brought forward two interesting facts. One, although the kids content available on YouTube was not very large, the number of views for these videos was very significant, implying a huge repeat viewing behaviour. Second, the session time on the videos was high. This, coupled with the fact that kids are more demanding about their content, we saw a significant opportunity in building the Voot Kids business where we could aggregate all the favourite characters of kids in one place, and offer it to them on demand,” said Viacom18 Digital Ventures COO Gaurav Gandhi.

Voot Kids is working towards having over 90 characters and 7,000 videos in the first year itself.

A hurdle serious players in the space are trying to overcome is that most kids content is preschool content. Therefore, new media platform content creators understand the need to develop vibrant content that goes beyond what is available. Consequently, content developers such as Chu Chu TV and Nazara are developing new characters.

The question remains as to how to monetise the content. While YouTube offers 55% ad revenue share to content creators, most apps at the moment are free. “The app ecosystem has to be made more lucrative. App developers should be able to charge users,” said Go Dimensions co-founder and CEO Sanjay Kumaran.

According to the latest KPMG-FICCI report on Indian media and entertainment industry, the digital advertising market size in India was around Rs 60 billion in 2015 and it is expected to grow at 33.5% CAGR over the next five years to Rs 255 billion in 2020.

The report estimates Rs 12 billion to be from online video advertising in 2015. This is projected to surge to Rs 67 billion by 2020, growing by 41% annually.

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