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Viacom 18 launches kid-friendly VOD platform, Voot

Voot for now will operate on an advertising led monetisation model. Based on insights into consumption patterns, it will be extended to freemium and subscription models. Viacom18 has consolidated 17,000 hours of network content into Voot

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | March 30, 2016

voot

Viacom18 launched its most awaited digital service, Voot, at a grand event in Mumbai last evening. The platform, which offers video on-demand service, is going to be the first over-the-top (OTT) player to target kids. Having a wide range of content from their kids entertainment segment, the platform is set to entertain all age groups.

Taking advantage of being a late mover in the industry, Voot has strategically strengthened its content with about 17,000 hours of video content from the Viaccom18 repertoire, acquired shows from rival networks for the kids genre, and four original series. It seems to be the next game changer in the industry.

The platform, which currently will be an advertising-led platform, is available on iOS, Android and web. The set of advertisers will be different from those one sees for the shows on television. Of course, some might be repetitive.

Offering content from across genres of Colors, Nick and MTV, it seems Viacom18 is going to wait to introduce the subscription model when they introduce English content for Indian audiences. Netflix has just begun with a huge English content library.

Voot Kids, the kid’s entertainment section, will offer content from popular characters across networks like Dora, Spongebob, Motu Patlu to external popular characters like Chhota Bheem and Pokemon.

Having a kids segment calls for censorship. Viacom18 has a parental lock where adults can set a lock code and kids will only be able to access Voot Kids.

Having launched four original series, Voot is the only broadcaster to have taken advantage of being a late entrant. Voot Originals will currently have shows like Badman featuring Gulshan Grover; Chinese Bhasad, a comedy treat for audiences; Sinskari, a sinful chat show with Alok Nath; and Soadies, a spoof of Roadies with Baba Sehgal.

Sudhanshu Vats Sudhanshu Vats

Commenting on the launch, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, said, “India is at the cusp of a digital boom with over 400 million internet users and  200 million+ smartphone users spending significant amount of time online with entertainment and allied content being the prime driver. As more people move towards consuming content online, it is time for Viacom18 to move into the world of connected screens. Hence, Voot.”

Vats further said, “With kids’ content and our entire Voot Originals line-up, the focus is to get people addicted to happiness. Our television channels also provide a very robust content bank that we will build upon for the digital consumers. Voot will be Viacom18’s singular gateway to quality and differentiated content in the digital medium.”

Gaurav Gandhi Gaurav Gandhi

An equally enthusiastic Gaurav Gandhi, COO of Viacom18 Digital Ventures, said, “As a network we are a content powerhouse, be it through our television channels or through our film studio. The content strategy for Voot is true to Viacom18’s philosophy of inclusive entertainment. Between Voot Originals, Voot Kids, our network content and content-around-content created exclusively for the platform, the idea is to peddle happiness to the ‘always wanting’ India racing to go digital. Our marketing campaign, set to kick off in the next few days, also highlights this brand philosophy that is at the core of Voot. ”

With digital advertising led video-on-demand category set to grow into a $1 billion business opportunity, Viacom18 has lined up an aggressive mix of business, content and marketing strategies. “From a business standpoint, we are following the advertising led VOD model. As the market matures in the next 12-24 months, we will be evaluating both freemium and subscription led models,” explained Gandhi.

The broadcaster is yet to decide on when to release the next episode when it comes to Voot Originals. They are going to observe patterns initially and then decide on timelines.

While currently one cannot take videos offline, the broadcaster soon intends to introduce this service as well. Considering bandwidths are a problem in India, Viacom18 feels that they have launched this platform at a time when 4G is growing in the country. So bandwidths will also improve, hence increasing video consumption on mobile devices. Vats feels that the problem remains the same for all the players in the market and with 4G, bandwidths will only get better.

Taking insights from their research on decreasing attention span of the consumer, their shows are mainly from 10 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes. Not only that, this is possibly the only platform which offers shorter formats of engagement in the form of mini clips (about 5 minutes) so that viewers can view their favourite parts from their favourite shows.

Something missing in the app is music and sports. Gandhi said that there are other players who cover sports, but for them sports is more seasonal and not something that is in their focus. While on the other hand, music is something that they will get to hear as part of the original series. Newer talent is given a chance to come up with jingles and compositions for their original series and that comprises of music.

Gandhi elaborated, “A year from now, there will be 2-3 million active users on our platform. At that point of time we will have about 7,000 hours of content only for kids and about 8,200 characters – that is a huge library.”

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